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Financial Firms Get Serious About Recruiting Gays

More financial companies are recruiting and retaining gay employees. They're also becoming more aggressive in reaching out to gay business school students.

BusinessWeek says more than 300 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students, 60 firms and 300 professionals will attend this years Reaching Out MBA Conference in October.

In the last few years, the financial business has been walking toward building a diverse workforce. Given the competition for talent, it's no surprise the gay community is among its targets.

Most anyone will tell you about how diversity of backgrounds also equals diversity of thought and approach - "different ways of thinking" are seen as more valuable into today's somewhat-multicultural world. BusinessWeek also notes the gay community's increasing economic clout: In 2006, its buying power equaled $641 billion, and nearly 70 percent of gay people are "fiercely loyal to companies with progressive work policies," the magazine says.

Still, Jennifer Krause, a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that 90 percent of her gay friends aren't out at their jobs, and most don't feel comfortable in their work environment. Though she believes most firms are just becoming aware of the potential of gay employees, she sees larger firms leading an industry-wide change.

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