Corporate America’s Employment Problem Isn’t Just Race But Also Class And Elitism

So hard to find new talent, such a burden. Except, there is plenty of talent of any color in the country. You just have to look around. That seems a core problem. Actually looking around.

As the release mentioned, the company is trying (but how recently?) to “help build engagement with historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, and Hispanic-serving institutions, or HSIs.” A good start.

But there is a more encompassing issue, in that financial institutions, on the investment banking side as an example, look for people in small collections of schools[4], according to Business Insider:

Elite private schools dominate the list—and show how difficult it is to break into the top tier of investment banking. Last year, only three public schools—the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina, and the University of California, Berkeley—were among the top ten, despite public schools’ student populations vastly outnumbering Ivy League universities’ student bodies.

Even though elite schools like those in the Ivy League often have student bodies with less than half White undergraduate students[5]—in theory, a great place to find diverse groups—taken together, they have a smaller number of students than a single big state school.

Nothing new here or restricted to banking. Top tech companies, management consulting firms, and, well, so many big corporations want to forage among the “best and brightest” to pick choice morsels to feed the HR machine.

In other words, in addition to race, corporations have an elitist class problem. They assume that only a small cadre of institutions can produce the quality of individuals needed for the very best management possible.

There is a small problem: the best and brightest often do the worst and dimmest things imaginable. They have been behind virtually every major corporate screw-up of the last fifty years. At least.

Would there have been the string of accounting frauds in one company after another that led to the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation had not elite-trained executives thought they were too clever for words? Perhaps some less sure of themselves would not have embroiled the world in derivative creation and trading that resulted in the implosion of the global financial system in 2008.

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