From NBC News:
Wells Fargo CEO ruffles feathers with comments about diverse talent
“While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from,” Scharf said in the memo.
Sept. 22, 2020, 12:02 PM PDT / Source: Reuters
Wells Fargo & Co Chief Executive Charles Scharf exasperated some Black employees in a Zoom meeting this summer when he reiterated that the bank had trouble reaching diversity goals because there was not enough qualified minority talent, two participants told Reuters.
He also made the assertion in a company-wide memo June 18 that announced diversity initiatives as nationwide protests broke out following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, in police custody.
“While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from,” Scharf said in the memo, seen by Reuters. …
But several Black senior executives across corporate America said they are frustrated by claims of a talent shortage, and called the refrain a major reason that companies have struggled to add enough racial and ethnic diversity to leadership ranks, despite stated intentions to do so.
“There is an amazing amount of Black talent out there,” said Ken Bacon, a former mortgage industry executive who is on the boards of Comcast Corp, Ally Financial Inc and Welltower Inc. “If people say they can’t find the talent, they either aren’t looking hard enough or don’t want to find it.”
After all, nobody has been looking for black talent since 1969, at least so far as I’m informed. Let me think back on my knowledge of the history of race relations in the 20th Century: there was redlining … and then Emmett Till … and that’s about it. I’m drawing a blank on anything happening since Emmett Till. If there had been over the last 50+ years a vast national push to find, advance, hire, and promote black talent, why was I never informed of this? So I don’t think it ever happened.
… The CEO of the largest U.S. bank employer has pledged to double the number of Black leaders over five years and tied executive compensation to reaching diversity goals. He is also requiring hiring managers to consider diverse candidates for high-paying roles that are vacant, and ensure diversity on interview teams.
Wells Fargo’s latest proxy disclosed more diversity data than those of many other companies, including that two of 12 directors at the time were Black and 1 was “Latino/Hispanic”. …
Introspection across corporate America during the Black Lives Matter movement has cast a harsh light on the lack of diversity.
In boardrooms, African Americans made up 10 percent of new director appointments in the Fortune 500 last year compared with their 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to a 2020 report from executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles. New Hispanic directors were even more scarce, the study found.
Only 7.3 percent of the five highest-paid executives at financial companies in the Russell 3000 were racial or ethnic minorities, according to data from ISS ESG, an arm of the proxy-advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. That number has risen in recent years, yet remains far below the percentage of minority groups in the general U.S. population.
Senior corporate executives and recruiters said the notion of a shallow minority talent pool is frequently cited as a hurdle to improving diversity but probably reflects insular professional and social networks. …
Experts said one reason board rooms and C-suites lack diversity is that such jobs are often filled by people who have managed businesses, while many people of color have tended to be stuck in roles that lack a direct connection to profits.
“As women and minorities started to gain traction in corporate America, they were trapped in certain jobs companies felt comfortable placing them in, like human resources, administrative-support type functions,” said Teri McClure, former general counsel and chief human resources officer at United Parcel Service Inc, who now sits on several boards, including JetBlue Airways Corp. …
It’s almost as if companies provide pleasant sinecures for affirmative action hires who can’t really cut it in the crucial jobs.
Winston, adding that she is often the only person of color in board rooms, also disagreed with the notion of a talent shortage.
One of the Wells Fargo employees said there simply was no lack of talent: “I can get them 10 to 15 resumes today.” (Reporting by Imani Moise, Jessica DiNapoli and Ross Kerber; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra, Paritosh Bansal and David Gregorio)
Seriously, if you are black and would make an excellent Wells Fargo line manager, you can probably get a job at Goldman Sachs for a lot more money. And since people who go into finance are not ascetic saints indifferent to money, smart blacks who can get a job at Goldman Sachs should get a job there. But that leaves Goldman’s discards for Wells Fargo and so forth down the line.
It’s like when The Bell Curve printed the leaked data on the SAT gap among freshmen at 26 top colleges. At Harvard, the gap wasn’t too bad, 91 points out of a 400-1600scale, or a little under a half standard deviation. But that was because Harvard was getting a large fraction of the best blacks. At the other 25 famous colleges, the gap was more like 160 points.
In an era like this when everybody is desperate to hire more blacks, your chances of getting really solid ones are dire.