Wall Street does not have a reputation for diversity, but Goldman Sachs (GS) and other banks are trying to change that.
Asahi Pompey, Goldman’s global head of corporate engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, believes the first step is simply tracking diversity numbers.
“I think the numbers certainly help,” Pompey told Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer on an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment. “You know, science shows that the evidence has shown that. So I think certainly tracking it and being very thoughtful around that is particularly important.”
Pompey believes that more needs to be done, though, and that Goldman is on its way but still has progress that it can make. The last class of Goldman partners was 26% female and 6% African American, the largest percentage in the bank’s 150-year history.
Pompey outlined specific ways Wall Street and Goldman can become more diverse, beyond tracking diversity statistics.
“One is casting a wide net,” she said. “You know, casting a wide net to beyond those top schools that you usually go to a broader group of liberal arts institutions, to a broader group of historically black colleges and universities, to international students as well.”
Retention is the final piece of the puzzle for Pompey.
“I think the third part is when you have those stars, keep them,” she said. “When you have those individuals, cultivate them, and give them opportunities throughout the organization because that has a catalytic impact where you see that snowball, as Warren Buffett talks about, sort of building, where you have a critical mass. And then others are attracted to that critical mass.”
Pompey believes her chief executive understands the importance of tracking diversity numbers, recruiting talent from a diverse pool, and retaining diverse employees.
“Our CEO, David Solomon, is doing all of those things,” she said.
Calder McHugh is an Associate Editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @Calder_McHugh.