In March 2018, the Federal Reserve Board (Board) posted the 2018 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, Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen.
Federal Reserve Board, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, Reports to Congress
(Preface language for the 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.”
In reading the 2018 OMWI report, the report has essentially the same content and structure as in 2017; however, there were some additions. While the additions were explained better in the 2018 report, observers must remain cautious, given the Board’s difficulties with diversity and inclusion issues. Some topics that I noticed in the 2018 report:
- An updated section on equal employment contained more discussion. (But given the Board’s history on this subject, still more is needed.)
- The workforce profile is more or less similar to the previous year. (Table 2, page 4)
- The Board’s OMWI stated that it monitors if there is a problem with retention of women and minorities. (I do not trust the OMWI’s mere words, again given that the director was involved in the problems. Significant action is needed to defeat this skepticism.)
- There was a significant drop off in hiring overall. (Table 3, page 5)
|Board Hiring and Promotions, 2015-2017|
|Positions filled w/ counting interns||458||449||288|
|Total number of Board employees||2673||2766||2745|
|Percentage of new non-intern hires over total number of employees||17.1%||16.2%||10.5%|
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 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 and visible results.
In all the tables in the “Equal Employment of Minorities and Women and Diversity and Inclusion at the Board” section, 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.
While the report provided an improved explanation of activities, concern remains that the activities produce demonstrable, consistent results–hiring and retention–of formerly excluded groups. The experience of the long-running Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen case casts a profound shadow over the Board for diversity and inclusion issues. It is up to the Board to redeem itself.