From the December 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

December 1, 2007

Growing Diversity

The securities industry continues to make workforce diversity a priority, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association's (SIFMA) 2007 Report on U.S. Workforce Diversity and Organizational Practices. The report found that the percentage of white men in the industry has decreased from 53% in 2003 to 45% in 2007, while the presence of women (white, women of color, and unknown) increased from 37% in 2003 to 43% in 2007. Women of color increased from 8% in 2003 to 11% in 2007, and the percentage of men of color increased from 10% to 11%.

"SIFMA members have made inroads in leveraging diverse talent and instituting practices and programs that support inclusive organizational cultures," said Jyoti Chopra, SIFMA's Diversity Committee chair and managing director, Global Wealth Management Americas at Merrill Lynch, in a statement.

The research, conducted by Towers Perrin MGMC and ORC Worldwide, also found that the percentage of firms reporting that they market their products and services to diverse groups has grown since 2005. In particular, the number of companies that market to Asians has increased from 27% in 2005 to 44% in 2007, and the percentage of companies who reported marketing specifically to the GLBT community (gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people) doubled from 19% to 38% since 2005.

The survey also revealed that firms using diversity management strategies and practices are considerably more likely to have representation of women and/or people of color that is above the median for the survey group. Thirty-one firms across a wide variety of firm sizes, geographical reach, and lines of business participated in the survey, capturing 41% of the U.S. workforce of SIFMA member firms.

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