What Can You Do to Support Under-Represented People in Finance?
The network gap makes it harder for people without connections to break into the finance industry. Here’s how we can start to bridge this gap.
As active participants in finance, we have access to powerful tools for helping mitigate systemic racism within both our own organizations and the industry as a whole: our networks of influence and our professional expertise.
Mentorship and networking play a key role in breaking into and advancing within the finance sector. LinkedIn research shows that a referral from someone in a company made a candidate 9 times more likely to get the job and more than 70% of professionals are hired at companies where they already have a connection. But if a company’s employees are primarily white, or primarily male, they’re likely to refer other people of the same background, and the company’s lack of diversity persists.
This phenomenon, known as the network gap, is why it can be difficult for qualified minority candidates to find positions in the finance industry. And the struggle to recruit and retain diverse talent means the industry may not be availing itself of a full array of talent.
The Network Gap in Finance
One way we can all strive to include more people of color in finance is to expand our own network. For many of us, we tend to network with people that look a lot like us. That’s because we all have a tendency toward homophily: We prefer to form "network ties" with people we believe to be like us. We often feel more comfortable around people of the same age, religion, education, occupation, gender, and, most of all, race and ethnicity. Although this tendency is natural, it’s something we have to acknowledge and combat.
How You Can Help Close the Network Gap
So, what does combatting homophily look like? We’ve created a checklist, inspired by former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner’s "Plus One Pledge," that describes what you can do to contribute your time, expertise, and influence to be a diversity champion in the finance industry. By making even a small change to your network, you can make a big difference.
If You Want to Get Involved but Don't Have Much Time:
If You Want to Get More Involved:
If You Have the Capacity to Do More:
Tackling a few tasks on this list doesn’t take a lot of time and can have a huge impact on someone’s life. We hope you see the value you can contribute by having simple conversations with people who might not usually be part of your network.
Get Started With These Diversity & Inclusion-Focused Organizations and Programs
Numerous organizations and programs are making great strides in the diversity & inclusion space. Here’s a collection of a few of these resources that can help you get started:
Resources for Individuals
Resources for Minority Candidates Looking to Get Into Finance
Resources for Financial Professionals
Frame the Discussion Around Their Needs