Women in Banking Portrait of a Goldman Sachs executive as a political wife
DEIDiversityFinancial ServicesDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory
Article Icon News Article
October 23, 2018
DEIDiversityFinancial ServicesDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory

Excerpt from the article originally published in American Banker

The American Banker article, “Women in Banking Portrait of a Goldman Sachs executive as a political wife," features the recently published bylined article from Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Jane Bird and Robert Voth on the critical need for diversity in the banking industry. The article is excerpted below. 

Complaint 1: A former American Bankers Association employee of 25 years is alleging that the trade group and some of its executives created a "boy's club" atmosphere that discriminated against women and minorities on staff. Christine Walika filed a lawsuit last week claiming that she raised concerns about discriminatory and verbally abusive behavior by certain executives, and as a result, suffered hostile treatment and retaliation, which culminated in her firing. The ABA denied the accusations in a statement. 

Complaint 2: As part of a review of how it handled an accusation of rape, UBS is also looking into a separate incident of sexual assault that involves a man who still works at its investment bank. A senior employee based in London allegedly put his hand up a woman's skirt during a work night out in the summer of 2017, the Financial Times reported. (An item about the UBS rape allegation appeared here in August, as regular readers may recall.) 

One problem is that men don't see a problem: Though men and women in the financial services industry agree on what the key gender issues are — lack of women in leadership and pay equity — men see less of a problem than women do. In a new survey of 971 industry executives, 68% of men said they expect the number of women in senior roles will increase in the next three years, but only 45% of women feel as confident. And 69% of men said they think their company pays men and women equally for the same job, compared with 28% of women. What do companies need to do to change the status quo? Set goals — or even quotas, some survey participants said — to ensure equal representation on the leadership team and board. See more from the survey conducted by Money 2020 and Visa. 


A series of opinions 

As part of our annual Most Powerful Women program, we are running a BankThink series that focuses on ideas for increasing leadership diversity. Here are two of the posts in the series. 

Be innovative in hiring too: Two recruiters from the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates offer their perspective on why banks are failing to diversify their senior ranks, despite stated intentions to do so. Too often bankers have a rigid idea about what a particular role requires, even though people from another industry like retail or technology have transferable skills that will allow them not only to succeed, but to infuse some fresh thinking into the organization, Jane Bird and Robert Voth said in their BankThink article. In recruiting for its card business, JPMorgan Chase has hired executives from PepsiCo, Kraft and Campbell's. But the outcome of most executive searches — even when a diverse slate is requested and delivered — is a hire who comes from another bank and looks a lot like the person doing the hiring. Citing tactics that Carnival Cruise Lines and Amazon used to improve diversity, Bird and Voth urge bankers to think more innovatively and be brave enough to change.