Diversity and inclusion are hot topics in financial services right now. The addition of diverse talent has been shown to positively correlate to higher returns and a more positive work environment, as well as more accurately reflect a broad investor population. The trend to establish more diversity and inclusion within firms’ ranks has resulted in intense competition for the best candidates: women and minorities.
The prevailing industry dialogue is focused on how firms can attract the best candidates, and support them once they’ve joined their team. Yet not much is being said about how the strongest diverse talent can be proactive within the current business environment. Now is the time for motivated, diverse talent to own and actively manage their careers to leverage the opportunities afforded by the emphasis on diversity.
Given that firms are engaging in practices that include quota-setting of diversity numbers, and linking hiring manager compensation to diversity hiring achievements, top female and minority candidates don’t have to sit back and wait to be recruited. Those who are ready to expand their skills, take on new professional challenges, and move their careers forward can take the following steps now:
- Research firms that are proactively seeking to increase their diversity numbers;
- Pay attention to areas where diversity is especially scarce, like investment;
- Weigh your skills, interests and qualifications relative to these areas;
- Consider your transferable skills and ability to take on a stretch role;
- Investigate training and mentoring opportunities your prospective employer may be willing to provide to bridge any gaps;
- Intentionally market yourself to your top firm choices; and
- Negotiate the best compensation package for yourself.
When navigating these steps, keep in mind that firms are paying well – and in some cases overpaying – for the best diverse talent, especially in areas where diversity is scarce. Also, candidates should seriously consider pursuing their dream job, even if they don’t have all the desired skills and experience. To enhance diversity, more firms are considering and hiring candidates who can be mentored or trained to fill available positions.
If you have questions or would like to dialogue on any of the topics addressed in this piece, please feel free to contact me.