College students looking to become investment bankers are no longer seeing representatives from JPMorgan Chase & Co. at career fairs. And not from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. either.
JPMorgan’s decision to replace in-person campus visits with video interviews, a move predating the coronavirus pandemic, allows the bank to talk to more candidates from a wider range of schools, and is similar to an earlier change at Goldman. The initiatives are intended to increase diversity by reaching beyond the handful of elite business schools and Ivy League universities long associated with the finance industry.
“You have to have a comprehensive strategy that’s going to incorporate relationships with schools outside of your traditional bubble,” Anthony Wilbon, dean of the business school at Howard University, a historically Black school, said in an interview.
Wall Street is under scrutiny for its lack of diversity. There was only one Black executive among more than 80 people included on the elite teams atop the six largest U.S. banks as of mid-June. And the problem extends beyond the top ranks, with African Americans, who make up more than one-seventh of the U.S. population, representing less than 10% of middle managers at the country’s top banks.
Determining how much progress recent recruitment changes have made in the makeup of the finance sector is difficult given the size of the industry and a lack of comprehensive employment data from schools and financial institutions. But a July study of LinkedIn data from 13 large U.S. and U.K. banks found the industry remains staffed disproportionately by graduates from elite private schools.
The study, compiled by recruiting-assistance firm SHL, showed that more than 40% of the graduates of U.S. universities who work for the profiled banks went to a private college, and 7.4% attended an Ivy League school. Almost two-thirds of Goldman employees attended a private college, the highest percentage among U.S. banks in the study.
While Ivy League and other private school alumni still dominate at top banks including Barclays Plc, public schools had a much broader representation at the firms overall. Seven of the top 10 U.S. schools in the survey were large public schools, including Arizona State and Ohio State, while only two Ivy League institutions — Columbia and Cornell — made the ranking. New York University had the most graduates working at the 13 banks, with more than 5,000 of the 207,251 profiles surveyed.
At JPMorgan, the recruiting change has, in its first year, allowed the bank to interview more candidates from more schools than ever before, said Robert Walke, global head of wholesale revenue campus recruiting.
“We really have a true commitment to diversity, and the only way to really achieve that is by ensuring that you have a real mix of backgrounds, particularly within schools and the general education background we’re hiring from,” Walke said in an interview.
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