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Minority Retention Requires Real Change, Group Says

A study, "Retention Returns," by the Robert Toigo Foundation and executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, makes it clear "new approaches and new thinking are needed" if true diversity is to achieved in the financial workplace, says Foundation President Nancy Sims.

While different people resign for different reasons, the study indicates most departures "fall into a predictable, often avoidable, pattern." A lack of access to key deals and the resulting lack of visibility, rewards and recognition often begins the cycle. In other words, people feel disconnected from their path toward success, and they go off looking for more promising ground.

'The Informal Circle of Exchange'

Staffers consider mentoring and performance reviews to be critical avenues of communication between themselves and their managers. So, firms should ensure their mentoring, networking and performance evaluation efforts are effective for all employees - minority and non-minority alike. "Too often, young professionals of color are outside the informal circle of exchange and, as a result, feel disconnected from their workplace," the foundation says.

In the long term, improving retention will require confronting cultural and structural impediments that exist within each firm. More than a third of survey participants recognize their firms have a diversity mandate from senior executives, but as many say there are no institutional efforts to address minority retention. "To make diversity an integral part of the culture will require a wholesale shift in the way many aspects of performance assessment and rewards compensation and bonuses are awarded," the foundation says.

"Linking retention goals and practices to a manager's compensation sends a clear critical message that retaining a diverse workforce is a critical part of a firm's success, and those who contribute to the effort will be rewarded," says Sims.

How likely is it that Wall Street will address deep-seated cultural issues relating to diversity? Post your comment below.

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • Gl
    23 April 2007

    To Cityboy88888, et al, this paradigm of ethnic groups for specific roles sounds very discriminatory and smacks of the Greenwich Connecticut IVY League thinking that is part of the history of Wall street. Fortunately or unfortunately, New York is not the only Financial Capital of the World. I know when I started it was; however, my clients are telling me otherwise. Innnovation is in London, Tokyo and even Dubai. Most Of the larger Global players continue to build their presences in 20 to 30 branch countries, searching for talent that can negotiate it. Canadian, French, and Spanish Banks ripe with capital are buying American firms replacing their traditional talent with junior talent from their home country. Some recruiting strategies over the next ten years is to replace hiegharchy, with matrices. Expect more diverse teams with superiors outside the US. Recently, one of the whitest shoe firms in London has been pursuing South Asian talent trained in America to cater to the multinational capital raising needs coming out of that region. The hiring model you reference is quite present today, but some are seeing beyond it.

  • Ci
    20 April 2007

    To Tungbo,Kvaz, et al
    Let me reply to each in turn.Firstly Asians ( indians and the American sense of South East Asians) are generally hired as Geeks. Technically brilliant but not SMD material.You will see many are Engineers,maths,phyisics majors and Phds. They are generally perceived as poor management material due to lack of cultural and social finesse. Geeks generally do not have good interpersonal skills.There are very few asians who have liberal education from Ivy League Schools.Liberal Arts graduates make the best SMDs etc.Asians aren't the exception they merely prove the rule so to speak.
    Kvaz - it's a tried and tested theory that affirmative action causes more problems than it solves and diversity initiatives are unncessary.Anti-discrimination is necessary. Equality of outcome and equality of opportunity are not the same thing.( see my website -article n diversity)
    Elridge - Don't Kid yourself.If you think Ivy league schools are not better why are people willing to pay such a premium in time, money and effort to get to them. The courses may not be any better, the people may not be any better,but the perception is.It's all that matters.

  • kv
    19 April 2007

    Cityboy, you are the reason why diversity initiatives exist. I hope your opinion is not a reflection of the financial industry.

  • Ch
    Chicago Bank
    19 April 2007

    I was once employed by 4 Billion Dollar / Year Bank in Chicago. I was quick to realize that this going to happen to me. Where managment does not reconginize the efforts put in minorities. I was told they couldnt increase my pay. When i left the Bank, my manager showed my payscale, it was 20K more than what i was getting payed. Wonder why they didnt increase the pay, is it because of my Color. Brown. Where as another white guy that started at the same time, was thrice promoted to senior vp status with in a year. I was so discusted i left. I guess Chicago being so diverse, it really doesnt make a difference.

  • Ch
    Christopher Cheddar
    19 April 2007

    What about diversity as it relates to nationality and foreign tertiary institutions attended.

    Is there an unwritten policy in these institutions that degrees obtained from foreign tertiary insitutions are inferior to those granted by their US counterparts?

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