Survey Says: Bad News for Women and Minorities on Wall Street

Nancy Anderson
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The annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association took place on November 8th. And just as the announcer was about to introduce the presenter of an award to Bank of America, nearly a third of the crowd promptly stood up and left. Why? Sifma, the industry's trade group, has been working very hard to encourage brokerage firms on Wall Street to grow out of their attachment to the all-white-male model. They've publicly announced their goals of the advancement of women and minorities and since 2002 have been handing out awards to its members that have best promoted diversity.

Back in 1999, Sifma began a bi-annual survey of its members to track how many women and minority employees there were at all levels. By 2007 they'd found that the number of women working in the industry declined to 42% from 43.5% (1999). Minorities, however, had increased to 21% from 11.5%. Both groups of employees were disproportionately found in jobs outside of the high-salaried executive and managing director positions.

A survey done in 2007 revealed that 76% of the industry's "non-exempt" staff (secretaries, clerks, etc.) was made up of females. Among "exempt" 69% male, 5% black, and 31% female.

Women are being hired at rates significantly below their current representation at almost every job level.

“All of the information about demographics in this executive report boils down to this,” the 2007 report continued. “From the associate level onward, representation of women and people of color decreases at each higher level in the organization.”

A definite sign of decline? There was no 2009 survey.

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By: Bambi Blue

Bambi Blue is a freelance writer, editor, and codemonkey living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She moonlights as a jazz musician, a social butterfly, and most apparently a weisenheimer. Loves to cook, hates to clean, and can easily be found on Twitter.

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