Wall Street’s last form of ‘acceptable’ discrimination

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Banks and other financial firms have made concerted efforts in recent years to make their workforce more diverse while also stamping out pockets of discrimination. They’ve rolled out ally programs, various work-life initiatives and targeted hiring goals, just to name a few. The efforts have helped, but there is still much work to be done to dispel the notion that Wall Street remains best-suited for straight white men.

Our recent survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. financial services workers paints a complicated picture when it comes to diversity and discrimination within the financial services industry. On the whole, women, ethnic minorities and LGBT employees still see and experience discrimination, even if the signs are less blatant than they may have been years ago.

And now a fourth “minority” has come out and asked for help: the 50-year-old banker. Ageism, or at least the perception of ageism, is seen as a bigger problem on Wall Street compared to any other -ism, according to our survey.

“Sexism and racism have become socially unacceptable attitudes,” said Neil Patrick, a former banker who is now the editor of 40pluscareerguru, a blog about career challenges facing baby boomers. “Ageism is the last of the ‘isms’ to be rejected by employers.”

However, potential solutions are available. Respondents and experts have specific suggestions in mind as to what companies can do to better embrace all aspects of their workforce. It’s not just the initiatives, they tell us, but also the attitude and actions of management.

Click here for free access to our white paper on diversity for a look at the problems facing minority populations and the changes they feel are necessary.

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