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23 Dec

How are the Financial Services Industry Implementing Diversity and Inclusion?

A few months ago, we discussed why the Financial Services industry should care about achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce, and highlighted some of the benefits, including:

  • Diverse and inclusive workforces help businesses better relate to the global markets they operate within
  • Leads to higher employee satisfaction
  • More likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians

While it is great to talk about why diversity and inclusion is important, and necessary in today’s hiring landscape, the question remains as to how companies are ensuring they achieve these goals. There are many diversity and inclusion best practices that firms may use, but we wanted to highlight a few simple areas to consider, and that you can implement straight away into your hiring process.

In order to gain some insight into this topic we talked to Jennifer Brown, an award-winning diversity and inclusion, speaker and consultant, who boasts nearly 15 years of experience in this space. Her new book, How to Be an Inclusive Leader, hit the bookshelves this summer. 

Job Postings

From Jennifer’s perspective, if you want to build a diverse team of professionals, the first place to start should be the Job Posting. According to Jennifer, “Hiring requirements can be so narrow that they become biased themselves”. Her suggestion is to revaluate how you are writing job descriptions to stop unintended bias. This means eliminating gendered words like “compete”, “dominant”, or “adventurous”.

This is backed up by research from studies published in 2011, from the University of Winnipeg, by professor Danielle Gaucher, who found that “Gendered wording is common in male-dominated fields, and contributes to the division of traditional gender roles by dissuading women’s interest in jobs that are masculine worded”.

While rewording job specifications may seem like a daunting task there are tools out there like Textio, that help hiring managers analyse job postings for gendered and non-inclusive language, by judging it against a “bias meter”, which reflects how inclusive a job posting’s language is.

Firms are also finding success by inviting under-represented people to apply in the body of a job post. This simple prompt goes a long way in making a candidate feel welcome to apply.

Selection and Bias

Bias can also find its way into the candidate selection process. A 2003 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, whether they intend to or not, recruiters tend to discriminate based on candidates’ names, and assume race/gender when screening resumes. There is an inherent tendency to “pattern match” while reviewing resumes, from Universities to previous Companies worked.

In order to eliminate bias in resume evaluation, Jennifer Brown suggests “Rethinking the reliance on the resume”. While looking at resumes, hiring managers should consider the bottom-line needs and criteria of a Company and evaluate whether a candidate has the skills to meet these needs.

Project Include, is a non-profit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion in technology recruitment. They write in their hiring guide – “Think about employing a ‘distance travelled’ metric: Where did a candidate begin their journey? Which achievements were accidents of birth and linked to privilege (e.g. an internship at a family or friend’s company) as opposed to earned in a meritocratic competition?”.

Outside of the interview and selection process, Financial Services firms have found that diversity and inclusion cannot be improved by better hiring practices alone. Therefore, Financial Services firms are investing in programs that offer mentorship and education for underrepresented groups. Programs like “Girls Who Invest”, are backed by firms like Oaktree and TPG, and strive to increase the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the Asset Management industry. 

At Danos Associates we adopt at headhunting approach to our recruitment process. That means that we don’t have candidates apply directly to us. Instead, we actively go out and find candidates for each role, which means the onus is on us to find the best possible candidates for each job, using a variety of different metrics.

We take the time to meet with each candidate in person and get to know each candidate before putting them forward for your roles. We feel that we are uniquely placed to ensure we are doing our part to find diverse candidates and, in turn, the strongest candidates for each job.

We approach every search with an aim towards diversity and inclusion. While skillset and experience remain a focal point in our selection process, we strive to ensure that each shortlist reflects a diverse range of experience, culture, and backgrounds.

We pride ourselves on being able to match talent not just to the requirements of the role, but also to the style of the organisation.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your diversity and inclusion efforts and how we can assist you with your search and selection.

  • Author

    Jordan Locke

    Senior Associate, Compliance Practice

    View profile