Monday, August 07, 2006

The Market at Work

Much effort (including most of my own the past year) has been devoted to understanding what produces differences in labor market outcomes for men and women -- particularly at the professional level. Wall Street tends to produce the biggest gaps. Relative to other professionals, like lawyers or doctors, women who take (even very little) time off from working on Wall Street to have kids are substantially less likely to return. The environment is too intense to balance with children.

Of course, losing women means that Wall Street loses valuable human capital. However, demand for this human capital has apparently reached the critical stage -- yesterday the NYTimes published a large feature on Wall Street's attempts to fundamentally change its culture to be more accommodating to women:
... not simply because it is socially expedient but because the financial world needs a diverse work force to make money and court clients -- especially when clients themselves are not homogeneous.

We'll see if they can figure out how to actually accomodate women more successfully (hopefully the Harvard and Beyond study will provide information useful for such efforts).

The more I've studied these issues the more convinced I've become that there is money to be made from figuring out how to access mothers' underutilized human capital. This article suggests that Wall Street may have recognized this as well which is a good sign for those interested in improving opportunities for women. No program or task force can come close to producing the changes that stem from the awesome power of demand.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]