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"Diversity in banking is all about the white women in the room"

It's time to address the elephant in the room. As an African American male who's had more rejections for banking and consulting jobs than I can remember, I find it odd that when banks talk about diversity they focus on women. White women.

Diversity in banking means white males welcoming white females, plus a sprinkling of Asians and a very few African American females. Experienced African American males are barely considered. Every hiring, promotion, compensation and layoff stat that I see suggests that my group is rarely recruited, underpaid and more frequently laid off. White women are the largest "minority" by comparison.

Sadly, the white males in banking don't seem ready to address the dearth of black men in the industry. They never ask why they think they're the superior candidates, and whether this might not just reflect the fact that for much of the history of American banks, black men weren't allowed in. They surround themselves with the same cookie cutter folks and think no further. 


This is a shame. Doing business in an international environment requires people who are the culture, heart, and pulse of those nations and industries. Those people aren’t just Caucasian.  How many people of color are in sports and entertainment? In banking, we are purposely disregarded.

African American men do more than rap, dribble, catch, throw, and run. We can work in banking too. If you give us a chance. 

Irvin Graves is a pseudonym

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AUTHORIrvin Graves Insider Comment
  • Ja
    6 June 2022

    what rubbish... blacks and females at all banks in London are key diversity targets.

    Asians aren't considered diverse... i.e. GS has publicly stated (in their annual ESG report) minimum quota for women and black hires in the UK, but no other ethnicity.

  • le
    let the eagle soar
    6 June 2022

    i was a prof at an elite university. I watched my largely white male colleagues ignore black admissions candidates and black students year in year out. My own research teams as a result were loaded with incredible talent, 60-70% black. These kids were ALWAYS more talented, hard-working, more resilient and less grade-grubby than their fellow white students. Me, frankly I didn't want those entitled legacy white kids. Which they almost always were. And there were ways to evaluate for that during hiring of research assistants. I left university for private industry and subsequently led my employer to these absolutely brilliant wunderkinds. And I was expected to draw in my own talent pool, 15 years of people trained in a highly specialized area in a world where no one else was receiving such experience. But, you know. Nothing happens. Instead all I see instead are 90% white males with a smattering of white women and asian women. And the hiring power was never extended to me even though I was to be bringing in my own students. Maybe it was because I led it fly that I had at least ten extremely gifted and proven black men and women I'd like to recruit. Well-trained, vetted and brilliant black candidates and still no. I got a lot of lip service, lots of diversity PR and rainbow flags too. But not even support from the black corporate diversity director when I brought this up in confidence. I do not work in a bank but I work with banks for advanced fiduciary services. What you experience is all too real. Because I am assumed to be on Team White due to the color of my skin I can tell you that yeah there's persistent racism. It's bad, frankly. So covert. And there's a fear on the surface that racism accusations are going to come with every black hire. That people don't feel safe "saying harmless things." Yikes. My experience dictates that you're probably better than the person on each shoulder, but the person evaluating all three of you, s/he "doesn't see color." One day I hope to have the power to make a difference where it is standard practice to fully evaluate the abilities of people along with the true merit of their achievements. I don't see that happening until I either work for myself or work for a majority-black organization.

  • Su
    3 June 2022

    According to an article that I just googled of Bankers currently employed in the United States: 53.7% are women, while 46.3% are men. Ethnicity of white employees, (7l.8%), followed by Asian (10.6%) and Hispanic or Latino (10.2%) The majority of bankers are located in NY, New York and NV, Las Vegas.
    Another article lists black professionals at 9.2%. Examples of these professionals would be analysts, tax preparers, credit analysts, computer programmers, etc. Either way, it is very sad that in the year 2022 more professionals and executives are not black workers. I did work for a large corporation where the percentage of black workers is 6.9% according to a recent article from 2022. In my opinion, this really needs to change.

  • An
    2 June 2022

    This isn't the fault of white males. Its because white women have hijacked diversity to the extent that white males are openly discriminated against.

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