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Crisis-fearing bankers hiring execs who ‘look like’ them: Krawcheck

In times of crisis, people tend to reach out to those who are closest to them. That’s exactly what’s happened on Wall Street over the last five years, as male bankers have looked to hire more within their own gender following the 2008 credit crunch, according to former Bank of America and Citigroup exec Sallie Krawcheck.

Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Krawcheck said we haven’t gone sideways in the battle for gender equality, “we’ve gone backwards.” Part of the issue has been the sour economic environment, which has convinced executives to ignore the benefits of workplace diversity and instead hire people who “look like” them, she said.

“What I saw when I was on Wall Street, it’s not, ‘Let’s get rid of people who are different than us because they’ve got cooties,’” Krawcheck said. Rather, male executives are feeling the pinch of the current banking landscape and reaching for people who they deem trustworthy, particularly for prominent roles. More often than not, those people are men, she suggested.

Speaking broadly, the gender mix on Wall Street has improved, but not at the upper echelon. Large banks count zero chief executives who are women and only a select number of C-level employees. It’s typically a 70/30 split when looking a new classes of managing directors.

Statistically speaking, women were also more likely to be let go during the mass layoffs that occurred post-crisis. Financial services and insurance firms cut roughly 260,000 jobs in the 18 months following the crash. Seventy-two percent were women, despite the fact that females made up 64% of all financial services employees.

Krawcheck herself was let go from Bank of America in 2011 during a restructuring effort. She offered some pretty interesting notes on how to avoid the same fate after one breaks through the glass ceiling.

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Buzz Around the Office

Youthful Exuberance (NY Daily News)

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Quote of the Day: "A lot of my friends at these investment banks are going to be real mad at me for saying it, but…I think what they should do is go back to Glass-Steagall.” – Carl Icahn on Tuesday

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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