Diversity and inclusion is high on the agenda in the investment banking industry. Investment banks have taken big steps to ensure more diverse work environments, bringing diversity and inclusion to the heart of recruitment from early careers to senior management.

Beyond recruitment, many financial insitutions have also invested heavily into D&I programmes, forums and initiatives to help ensure that all voices are equally represented in the workplace.

We have pulled together some of the advantages a diverse workforce delivers:

1. It brings fresh perspectives and problem-solving techniques to the table

A diverse workplace translates to a mix of backgrounds, cultures, education, genders, etc. Ultimately, this brings a broader spectrum of ideas, viewpoints and solutions to the table that draw on a mix of experiences and backgrounds.

A diverse talent pool can be highly beneficial in offering fresh ideas and multiple perspectives to drive critical thinking in an organisation.

2. It enhances the organisation’s reputation

While investment banks are already considered much coveted places to work for, their recent performance on the diversity and inclusivity can still be an issue to some incoming employees, though much progress has been made.

Cultivating and promoting a diverse work environment open to everyone helps employees and prospective hires to feel comfortable, respected, and valued. This would include consciously instilling equality at each level of representation.

3. It increases representation for public policy

When it comes to the world’s largest investment banks, which deal with trillions of dollars in assets, they are seen as global decision-makers.

Such a title would only be fair if they were more representative of the world and not only a subset of the population.

In order for these banks to have bigger voice in financial public policy and other matters of importance, more effort is needed to ensure greater diversity at senior management and board level.

This could be one way to better contribute to future policies in the world of finance and banking and better represent the interests and needs of a multi-faceted population.

Diversity and inclusion in investment banking - how to hire a more diverse talent pool

The first and foremost step towards improving diversity in financial institutions is to hire more inclusively at all levels. Here are a few ways to do so:

Who are your recruiters?

Banks can only become more equitable workplaces if the personnel in charge of recruitment and talent is diverse. Voluntarily or inadvertently, our personal biases can often slide into our professional lives.

If those hiring for banking positions represent a singular type of mindset or approach, they might be inclined to hire in the same direction.

Hence, it is imperative that financial organisations ensure their recruitment staff are also drawn from a diverse a talent pool.

What are your organisational values?

Any company must ensure it embodies the values that it believes in. If honesty and ethics, for example, are your core values as a brand, you must undertake initiatives that are reflective of these values.

To ensure diversity, similarly, companies must communicate and establish values that align with it at an organisational level.

All employees, from the senior management to early careers, must be aware of what the company personifies and try to embed those in their professional lives.

An organisation is composed of its people, hence, it is not enough to only state values of diversity on the company philosophy but to ensure that people practice it in their day-to-day activities and roles.

Which diversity and inclusion programmes are you using in your investment bank?

Investment banks, with often sizable workforces, can benefit from external programmes to help fulfil their diversity and inclusion commitments.

Such initiatives must be launched right from the early career recruitment level. Programmes such as MDA’s Diversity and Inclusion in Investment Banking will work with your bank to train prospective and new hires.

It includes events that are designed to educate and inspire students from underrepresented groups with new insights, mindsets, and skills when considering a career in the financial services industry.

It also enables students to not only recognise barriers and challenges often faced, but to build confidence and resilience to overcome these challenges and misconceptions.

Summing it up - diversity and inclusion in investment banking

Diversity is fundamental to the success of any organisation. Creating an equitable workforce must focus on hiring diverse professionals at all levels.

This not only allows for a greater mix of insights, perspectives and solutions, but is also crucial for the company’s reputation and representation.

To drive D&I, organisations such as investment banks must ensure a diverse recruitment function as well as talent pool, make sure its diversity and equality values are communicated and implemented at all levels, and deploy programmes that explore diversity at every level in the organisation.