The question that is sure to come up when talking about an event is, “Who all gone be there?”
While it’s typically asked in jest, it’s usually posed to determine if a person would want to attend the event or how long they should stay there.
For the people at asset management firm BlackRock Inc., the answer to that question would not include a majority of Black and brown people.
Bloomberg reported that Black and Latinx leaders are quitting rapidly, despite “meeting diversity goals.”
According to an internal review Covington & Burling LLP conducted on the Wall Street firm, BlackRock has been working since 2020 to diversify its ranks.
The racial audit showed that the firm had reached its 2024 goal by increasing Black and Latinx hires by 30%. But while this progress has occurred, the firm still falls short in some areas. In addition to boosting the overall staff diversity, the report showed that BlackRock had a goal of doubling its 77 Black and Latinx executives to 280 and is currently falling short.
The timing of BlackRock’s investment in diversity is not uncommon. During 2020’s unrest from the murder of George Floyd, many companies released statements and created diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies to have more inclusive cultures. Years later, many of those same companies have similar challenges to BlackRock’s.
According to a previous post by AfroTech, many DEI-related roles have been cut from companies. These hires were seen as performative, noting 40% of layoffs at surveyed organizations were DEI-related roles compared to 24% for non-DEI positions.
But it seems like BlackRock’s problems may cut deeper than what the diversity metrics show.
The Bloomberg report noted that BlackRock’s CEO has to mitigate the opinions and perspectives of investors who want to focus more on environmental and social principles versus those who believe equity-centered work hurts the company’s bottom line.
“BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink has said his company is caught between investors who insist on more attention to so-called environmental, social and governance principles and those who say ESG goals hurt investment returns and distract companies from profits,” the report from Bloomberg reads.
If this wasn’t bad enough, a conservative advocacy group submitted a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming BlackRock showed preference to minority students for internship opportunities.
However, BlackRock denies these claims, explaining that while they have DEI metrics and goals in place, its hiring policies are based on merit.
“The report highlights our significant progress to date,” BlackRock spokesperson Ashley Beale said. “Looking forward, we still have more work to do, and we remain committed to our strategy.”
Despite the firm’s commitment to progress, attrition data showed that most voluntary resignations from 2021 to 2022 came from Black employees at the managing director and associate levels. For Latinx employees, departures mostly came from the associate and vice president levels.
An established task force noted that the Black and Latinx employees departed the firm for lack of professional development, trust and belonging, accountability, and inconsistent day-to-day experiences.
“And if they are having trouble attracting and retaining talent, as the report says, they have to develop more robust internal processes to make sure this pattern is disrupted,” Service Employees International Union’s Renaye Manley said to Bloomberg.