There used to be a time when many big financial firms, both on the sellside and buyside, would wince at the thought of diversity recruiting and skirt over the issue. But over the past couple of years, Lyndon Taylor, head of the diversity recruiting practice at Russell Reynolds, has been noticing a change in attitude, observing that the reluctance firms once had to go down that route has actually lessened.
Today, he says, many firms–hedge funds, private equity firms and others–are actually taking a real interest in promoting diversity within their workforces.
“There’s a voluntary emphasis on diversity recruiting and when these firms come to us, they’re actually walking the talk and saying ‘please help us identify diversity,’” he says.
Taylor’s theory is that firms are taking their cue from their customer base: “The sources of capital put a lot of emphasis upon diversity because they themselves are so diverse,” he says. “The capital has the power to ask the people who are managing it ‘how diverse is your workforce?’
Investment management firms have also noted the changes that have impacted the wirehouses and brokerages and distribution networks. They have noticed, Taylor says, that the clientele that wirehouses cater to is far more diverse these days and is going to become even more so going forward.