Morgan Stanley, one of the top investment banking firms in the nation, is requesting that their employees fulfill a “diversity” quota in their job application process.
It was discovered that Morgan Stanley is mandating that job application pools meet a close to 50% threshold of “diverse” candidates. The employees of the firm were told that they would need to contact the company’s human resources department if they were not able to meet the requirements. The firm states that diverse applicants are considered females or individuals that identify as “black, Hispanic, [or] Asian.”
In a PowerPoint presentation on recruitment, employees were given a four-step process of recruiting and were told that inclusion and diversity were the pinnacles of steps one and three which were sourcing and interviewing, respectively.
“Our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion is demonstrated throughout our recruiting practices, most notably in the sourcing and interviewing of candidates.”
in the “sourcing” candidates portion of their recruitment process, employees were told that job descriptions must be not only effective but inclusive. The employees are encouraged to partner with human resources to garner a “diverse pool of candidates.”
“Ensure your candidate pool is at least 50% diverse (gender, ethnicity, or as defined by region),” one of the slides reads. “If you are not seeing enough diverse resumes, work with [an] HR Recruiter to question this and ask why?”
The panel conducting the interview must also be composed of diverse employees. According to the presentation, a diverse interview panel includes “employees from different genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, functional teams, affinity groups, etc.”
Morgan Stanely has an internal process for tracking how many male, female, Asian, Hispanic, and Black candidates are shortlisted, interviewed, finalists, and/or hired for positions. The employees handling the hiring are also forced to log what the racial and gender makeup of the final two candidates for a given position are, and if the finalists are not considered to be part of their “diverse” group then the employees must provide an explanation as to why.
On one slide of the presentation, they describe the role of the interviewer, which is a two-part one and quite contradictory. The interviewers are required to discuss only “job-related” content and to also “challenge any potential biases” seen in the candidate.
“[Interviewers must] ensure that only relevant topics are discussed during the selection process, and that interview questions are job-related and consistent for all candidates,” the presentation reads. “[Interviewers must] advocate for diversity, challenge any potential biases, and ensure that candidates are informed of the Firm’s commitment to diversity.”
During the entire interview process, employees and interviewers are told to actively mitigate their “unconscious bias.” One point in the presentation provides strategies for alleviating these so-called “unconscious bias” during an interview.
According to the presentation, part of mitigating this bias is to not question the company’s commitment to affirmative action. If someone were to claim that standard should not be lowered for a minority applicant, then this is considered a form of “race/ethnicity bias.”
The example slide used for this reads:
Employee: “I know diversity is important, but we shouldn’t have to lower our hiring standards in order to engage diverse candidates.”
Race/Ethnicity Bias: The comment falsely equates underrepresented talent with lowered standards.
The presentation goes on to say that the employees are just showcasing “confirmation bias” if they feel unsure that a candidate, who does not have a background in financial services, will be able to perform the job of an investment banker.
This mindset is a startling one and seems to be rolling out on a larger scale as other top financial service companies begin to push similar inclusion and diversity standards.