by Ray Hayes

Wall Street is slowly becoming more diverse. During the summer months, big banks are more than doubling there diversity numbers with the help of an unlikely source; interns. Bank of America reported that its 2018 class of interns was the ‘most diverse class ever.’ The class of interns comprised of 45 percent women and 55 percent non-white interns. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Well Fargo & Co. are also reporting similar numbers. The Wells Fargo intern class was comprised of 42 percent women and ‘about half of the class was ethnically diverse.’ Morgan Stanley also has seen an increase, with 56 percent of the intern class coming ethnically diverse backgrounds.

The big increase in diversity numbers can be contributed to the hiring process. A lot of banks are moving away from the old model of relying on family and friends to find interns instead most interns now come from company sponsored summer programs.

Big banks are not only hiring diverse interns but they are also bringing them on full time.  For instance, Bank of America has hired more than 70 percent of its 2017 intern class to full time positions.

Andrea O’Neal of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization that works with companies to increase diversity spoke about the recent changes and the increase of diversity amongst the intern classes. “Students that are being locked out of the internship experience are effectively locked out of the industry. That pipeline and how it’s constricted, or not, is setting the longer-term diversity and inclusion strategy for the firm. You have to get people in the door first.”