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The bamboo ceiling remains, but not for women

Asian people are disproportionally overlooked for promotions to senior roles in finance, an explosive research paper has claimed.

The revelation is unlikely to shock many people. We’ve spoken about the “bamboo ceiling” – the tendency for Asian people to be overlooked for senior positions – before.

A doctoral thesis submitted by Hyunsu Oh of the University of California found that although Asian men outperform white men in general high-salary positions such as STEM-related fields, they are notably undercompensated in Finance.

Given that pay and seniority are typically related, this implies a lack of recognition and comparative absence of promotions for Asian employees.

Interestingly, however, Asian women earn notably more than White women in finance. Asian women also earn more than non-Asian women of color. 

Skewed perception (AKA prejudice) is the likely cause. Sociology professor Natasha Quadlin notes in the Russell Sage Foundation Journal that Asian people are generally perceived as more intelligent than people of other ethnicities – and Asian women are perceived as, by some margin, more intelligent than other race/gender cross-sections.

Quadlin’s paper also says that Asian women are perceived as more privileged than any other ethnic minority and almost as privileged as white women. She found that Asian women were the only ethnic group (including Whites) who were perceived as more intelligent, privileged, and kind than their male counterparts.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: Zeno.Toulon@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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