Federal Reserve Board: Board Issued 2017 Office of Minority and Women Inclusion Report. Slightly More Clarifying Information Included; Potential Improvement Obscured by Lack of Explanation

In March 2017, the Federal Reserve Board (Board) posted the 2017 version of its Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). As discussed previously in this blog, there had been some attention in inclusion issues by the Congress and the Board’s Office of Inspector General (IG). The blog had covered these developments, and also a former long-running case (not mentioned by the OMWI report), Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen.

Overall, with this report, the reader is made to feel skeptical of all Board activities, even if true progress is being made. More explanation of the programs being performed with the money of United States citizens, and the elimination of obscurity,  is expected and required.

Federal Reserve Board, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion,
Reports to Congress

(Preface language for report submitted in 2015.) “Pursuant to section 342(e) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System must submit an annual report to the Congress outlining the activities, successes, and challenges of the office. This is the office’s report for calendar year 2014. Sheila Clark serves as the director of ODI.”

Year Link
2012 http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/minority-women-inclusion/2012-omwi-preface.htm
2013 http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/minority-women-inclusion/2013-omwi-preface.htm
2014 http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/minority-women-inclusion/2014-omwi-preface.htm
2015 http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/minority-women-inclusion/2015-omwi-preface.htm
2016 http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/minority-women-inclusion/files/omwi-report-20160331.pdf
2017 https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/omwi-report-20170331.pdf

Sheila Clark’s letter to the EEOC (printed in the Auerbach book, page 123).

In reading the 2017 OMWI report, the report has essentially the same content and structure as in 2016; however, there were some additions. The additions are concerning as they allow worrying questions about the Board’s seriousness to this important issue, given its history in this area.

  • The creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. (The document seems like a condensed OMWI Report. The issue is the obscurity of Board actions, which is worrisome and makes an observer doubt the organization’s sincerity in improving its failings.)
  • Divisions provide the Board’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion with periodic reports through a Diversity and Inclusion Scorecard. (Again, a description of this scorecard is not in the report, leading to concern about sincerity.)
  • The positions filled in 2015 and 2016 evidence a somewhat similar rate of new hires, 17.1 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively. (See chart below.) The numbers suggest somewhat consistent turnover, leading to the possibility of the existence of a “rank-and-yank” system.
  • The addition of courses to its core professional development curriculum–
    • “Unconscious Bias”
    • “Generational Differences”
    • “Inclusive Leadership.”

(It is unclear whether these courses are merely offered or are required for employees to attend. And, what will be ODI’s oversight responsibility to make sure things stay on track or that the courses prove effective? Again, there is nothing mentioned in the report.)

  • In 2016, the Board created targeted strategies to address low participation of African Americans and Hispanics in research positions. (Unclear what these strategies are.)
  • In April 2016, there was a creation of a Diversity and Economic Inclusion Initiative and a creation of a workgroup, of which the OMWI Director is a member. (The report did not provide any description of these programs.)
Board Hiring and Promotions, 2015 and 2016
2015 2016
Positions filled 576 576
Interns 118 127
Positions filled w/ counting interns 458 449
Total number of Board employees 2673 2766
Percentage (new non-intern hires over total number of employees) 17.1% 16.2%

Given the issues presented by the IG previously and with the long running time of the now-ended Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen case, the Board’s activities with regard to diversity and inclusion continues to remain an issue of moderate to grave concern until demonstrable, sustained and consistent improvement is shown. Meetings, scorecards, and reports are a start, but insufficient compared to firm results.

In addition, the Board’s use of rank and yank undermines and destroys all efforts described in this post. The fourth full paragraph, left column on page 7 was used in previous years. [Note: The blog had identified that rank and yank is potentially being used at the Board.]

Artist: Michael Sloan

In all the tables in the “Equal Employment of Minorities and Women,” the delineation of non-minority and minority is obscure, specifically the minority category. Such obscurity can hide issues with specific subgroups under the umbrella of minority.