A study by the City University of New York‘s Center for Urban Research under distinguished professor of sociology Richard D. Alba has found that if you’re white and male and you work on Wall Street, your average compensation (between 2005 and 2009) was $154,500, 55 percent more than for a white woman and Latino man and 72 percent more than a black man.
I know. Big surprise, right?
It’s no myth, all this talk of the 1 percent.
White women on Wall Street also have higher salaries than their counterparts of other races and ethnicities. The salary for a white woman working on Wall Street is $100,000, 59 percent more than for a Latina woman and 65 percent more than for a black woman.
What’s more, even as those who are members of the “old boys’ club” are retaining their privileges, the workforce on Wall Street actually became more diverse between 2000 and 2009. In 2000, 67 percent of older workers were white men. But between 2005 and 2009, the percentage of white men working on Wall Street fell to 46 percent of the youngest workers.
Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal posit that discrimination is he behind the pay discrepancy. Wendi S. Lazar, a partner at the law firm Outten & Golden who has represented women in finance, comments that
“I see the same pattern over and over again. The women who make it to a position where they’re really going to jump up to a high level absolutely get set up to fail at that level, because the hierarchy remains male in this business.”
Indeed. If a woman is a Vice President at a Large Manhattan Investment Bank and her husband’s Global Accounting Firm will be auditing her employer, who do you think is going to take an early retirement due to conflict of interest?
It’s also speculated that the discrepancies in compensation are because there are “few minorities at the elite schools the firms draw recruits from.” In Harvard’s class of 2010, the student body was quite diverse, with 17.7 percent Asians, 10.5 percent African Americans, 9.8 percent Latinos, 1.4 percent Native Americans. There are minority students at Ivy League schools, but the Wall Street pay gap — and hiring gap? — still exist.
Again, in too many ways, none of this is any surprise. As Professor Alba comments, “Wall Street doesn’t really show signs of adapting to the changing labor market.” Precisely why so many of us — the 99 percent — are seeking to get Wall Street to adapt to the reality in the streets.
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