Wall Street Realities Challenge Women's Recruitment

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Investment banks are striving to return experienced women to its workforce after they've taken years off to pursue more balanced lives. However, the expectations of both the banks and the talent they seek are being challenged by the realities of the industry's realities.

An article in the New York Times says in large part, Wall Street has come to embrace the idea of a diverse and balanced workforce because clients are beginning to demand it and the talent pool is skewing away from being white and male.

However, Generation Y in general, and women in particular, place more emphasis on balance than financial rewards, which makes Wall Street a less attractive place for them to work. Coupled with that recruitment challenge, the industry faces an increasing number of women who leave in mid-career, some to shoulder family issues, others to seek positions with more manageable hours.

"It's not looking that great for the investment banks if you think that the new generation is interested in social responsibility, high ethical standards and work-life balance," said Claudia Tattanelli, head of American and Asian-Pacific operations for Universum, a firm that helps companies recruit more effectively. "In the past, it was competitive compensation, a good career reference - prestige and financial strength. Work-life balance was No. 3 or 4."

Based on data supplied by nine investment banks, the Times found that women represent about 33 percent of top banks' analysts, 25 percent of incoming full-time associates, and just 14 percent of managing directors.

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