LGBT and Straight Bankers Not On The Same Page When It Comes To Discrimination

|

Compared to other industries, Wall Street has proven itself to be a champion of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) equality. Banks have installed innovative and productive workplace programs aimed supporting the LGBT community, while several CEOs have come out publicly to support gay marriage, including Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Still, a divide appears to exist between LGBT employees at financial services companies and their heterosexual colleagues when it comes to the perception of the industry’s culture. In our recent diversity survey, roughly 86% of heterosexual US respondents said they don’t believe sexual orientation discrimination exists at their firm. More than half of LGBT employees believe it does.

Admittedly, the sample size is very small. Just 21 of the 608 US survey takers who responded to the question said they were LGBT, nine of whom claimed that sexual orientation discrimination exists within their firm. Another 53 people said they’d prefer not to identify their sexual orientation, of which more than one quarter (28%) acknowledged that they’ve seen signs of LGBT discrimination at work.

While it’s difficult to make a definitive assessment from the relatively small sample size, Todd Sears, founder of Out on the Street, an LGBT leadership organization for Wall Street, said his firm’s studies have produced similar figures.

One of the problems, Sears says, is that a large percentage of employees (41%) remain in the closet, even if they are open about their sexual orientation in their personal life. Closeted workers are three times as likely to report experiences of discrimination, according to their findings. They are also three times as likely to say their firm is anti gay.

“People who have been in closet a long time, it’s hard to quantify the damage that can do,” Sears said.

From an employer perspective, banks can do several things to make LGBT employees feel more comfortable coming out, which has statistically proven benefits for both the employee and the employer. Closeted LGBTs are nearly three times as likely to leave their companies within three years, according to the most recent Out on the Street study.

The first thing financial services firms must do is to better align their policies and their culture. Banks have many good policies in place – ally programs and domestic partnership agreements to name two – but that doesn’t always translate to an inclusive culture, Sears said.

“It starts with the top. The CEO has to be a visible ally,” Sears said. And other senior members of organizations need to come out as allies, just as LGBT employees need to come out as lesbian or gay. “If they don’t, employees don’t know where they stand.” So even if there is no overt discrimination, employees may not feel comfortable.

Coming out as an ally creates what Sears calls a “positive halo effect” that touches all minorities on Wall Street, not just LGBT employees. “When a straight, white male manager becomes an ally, all minorities become engaged,” he said.

Finally, senior managers must be more active in their sponsorship and support of LBGT employees, beyond just putting an ally flag on their desk — an initiative several banks have undertaken to show support for LGBT equality.

“In a client situation, if a colleague says, ‘that is so gay’ – something that is still said often – imagine the effect it would have if a manager asked, ‘what does that mean?’ or ‘why are you using that term?’” Sears said.

Too rarely do stakeholders use their political capital to benefit minorities, he said.

LAID OFF. WHAT COMES NEXT?

Robin Judson & Kate Stoughton Berllineer |

As recruiters, we are already seeing candidates who have been laid off and are searching for their next role. The fact that these individuals were laid off does not detract from their work experience or the value that they bring. As you prepare for what’s next, make sure to focus on what you can contribute

... Read Article


LAYOFFS COMING? PREPARE NOW!

Robin Judson & Kate Stoughton Berliner | Robin Judson Partners

If the possibility of getting laid off is keeping you up at night, here are some ways to get ready and ease your mind. Be prepared Dust off your resume. Even if layoffs are not an issue, we recommend keeping your resume up to date! Consider: Pro Tip: Treat your resume like a living document.

... Read Article


How PE Firms are Dealing with a Hybrid Work Environment

Keith Button | Merger & Acquisitions

Hybrid home-office work arrangements, the demands of a younger generation of up-and-coming executives and pressure to develop more diversity in leadership are all impacting the recruiting efforts of middle-market private equity firms. Read the full article by Keith Button

... Read Article


Now Is Not The Time To Accept A Counter Offer

Robin Judson |

Jack G. complained constantly that his fund did not pay him anywhere close to the value he produced. In his role as a Principal in XYZ Private Equity Fund, he had significant P&L attached to the portfolio companies he worked with, sat on two boards and a deal he originated was about to close. Two

... Read Article


Some Wall Street dealmakers are choosing WFH over big paydays, as return-to-office plans become key to recruiting

Samantha Stokes | Insider

Recruiters told Insider that some senior bankers at the managing-director level and above are saying they won’t consider new roles that are based in the office full-time. Samantha Lee/Business Insider Flexible-work policies are top of mind for many senior bankers, recruiters say. Candidates are turning down roles that don’t allow remote work at least sometimes. Some

... Read Article


Wall Street’s Hottest Commodity: College Grads With Excel Skills

Mary Biekert | Wall Street Journal

All across Wall Street, one price keeps going up: the one for young talent. Big banks can’t hire junior staff fast enough — not even at the new going rate of $100,000 a year. Chalk it up to the pandemic. Or the notoriously long hours. Or youthful realizations that maybe banking isn’t all it’s cracked

... Read Article


How To Handle Job Offers In The Post-Lockdown Economy

Robin Judson |

Many job searches during this post-lockdown period result in candidates receiving multiple offers. How to best handle the scenario.

... Read Article


A Guide To Interviewing From A Career Recruiter

Robin Judson | Robin Judson Partners

We believe we know interviewing because we have been in the financial recruiting business for over 25 years. This is our guide.

... Read Article