Reuters/ Lucas JacksonA report out of the UK made headlines recently for suggesting that banks discriminate in their recruiting efforts on the basis of class.
The study examined the “unwritten expectations” of investment banks and concluded that recruiters often discriminate on the basis of “arcane culture rules” like what color the candidate’s shoes are, how they tie their tie, or God forbid, if they received a private school education.
A class ceiling on Wall Street? How is this even newsworthy? My analyst class was mostly white guys from privileged backgrounds. While other kids were being grilled in interviews about convexity, duration, or how many golf balls would fit in a school bus, I was talking about boarding school pranks, restaurants in Nantucket, and SCUBA diving in Zanzibar. Of course, I got the job.
And then when I made it to the other side of the table, we wouldn’t even consider a candidate who couldn’t tie a decent tie knot or wore square-toed shoes. Like I’m supposed to work twelve-hour days and take business trips with a kid who tries to order Chateaubriand from the wine list? I don’t think so.
Now that it’s September and Wall Street’s latest crop of analysts and associates are leaving training and heading off to their desks, I thought I’d lay out some guidelines on a question that is too important to too many bankers – what watch are you wearing?