There are fewer white men in the increasingly diverse financial industry, but they still take home the bulk of Wall Street's money, according to a report set to be released Friday.
In some cases, white men on Wall Street earned more than twice as much annually as other ethnic groups, and their median earnings shot up 15%, to about $154,500, between the 2000 federal Census and the 2005 to 2009 American Communities Survey, the report said.
"The Progress and Pitfalls of Diversity on Wall Street"—a report conducted by the City University of New York's Center for Urban Research—examined U.S. Census Bureau data. It showed that white men made up about 54% of Wall Street's workforce in 2005 to 2009, down from about 57% in 2000.
Income also went up for other groups, but they lagged far behind white men. White women on Wall Street had median earnings of about $100,000 a year, black men $90,000 and black women $60,770, on average, between 2005 and 2009, according to the report.
"The most surprising findings regard women because as we know women now outperform men in the educational system," said Richard Alba, distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of CUNY, a co-author of the report. "They have higher rates of getting [bachelor's of arts degrees] and post-graduate degrees and that they still lag so much behind in terms of their position on Wall Street I find really remarkable."
The report said institutional discrimination could result in disparities in pay. It also noted that many higher-paying top jobs may go to applicants from elite schools where there are fewer minorities.
"I think both the minorities and the women are probably disadvantaged by what we might call discrimination writ large," Alba said.
The percentage of women in core jobs on Wall Street hasn't consistently increased as much as it has for minorities, the report found. Women made up about a quarter of the oldest workers—45 years old and up—in 2000 and in later years, and about a third of the youngest workers, regardless of the year.
Asians account for the majority of the diversification of Wall Street, going from 5% of older workers in 2000 to 19% of younger ones in 2005-09. The percentage of Asian men almost doubled.
While Latinos have also shown gains, blacks haven't, according to the study.
"These patterns, should they continue, really create an issue I think for Wall Street," Alba said. "How is it going to cope with the growing diversity of the work force? It's fishing for leadership in a pond of declining size, mainly the pond made up of college-educated white men. The workforce is going to change…. Who is going to replace them?"
The report looked at people who identified themselves as working full-time in the financial industry on long-form Census surveys and in answers to questions from the American Communities Survey.
The report, which took about two months, comes on the heels of a study released last month that found that women have achieved few gains in leadership positions in New York's largest corporations.
That study, conducted by Columbia Business School and the Women's Executive Circle of New York, found that women held 15.9% of high-level leadership positions in 2010, up from 14.7% in 2006. Overall, women held 11.7% of executive positions in 2010, a number that was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than in 2006.
This story first appeared on WSJ.com.
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