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HSBC aims to double senior Black staff by 2025: tactic or real effort?

The Chief Executive of HSBC Bank Noel Quinn announced in an internal memo on Monday that HSBC Bank aims to double Black staff at director rank by 2025.

This news comes after that the bank has attempted to take action against discrimination, trying to create opportunities for advancement in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The few Black employees that already work at the bank have said in internal meetings with Quinn that they have felt very much overlooked for career opportunities and “uninspired by the lack of senior role models”.

Image credit Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

HSBC felt the urgency to hold meetings with Black staff following the spotlight put on systemic racism in the United States and worldwide after the brutal murder of George Floyd in May.

Black employees in those meetings claimed that “HSBC has not been strong or vocal enough on race issues as an organisation on matters that concern them,” Quinn told staff in the memo. Also, they questioned the concrete effects of the implementation of an External search, which is aimed to hire more diverse candidates in the bank.

In response to these words, Quinn reinforced the company effort to double by 2025 the number of Black staff at “GCB3” or higher level, a senior rank in the firm’s hierarchy equivalent to a director.

However, the bank’s proportion of its current senior Black employees are still unknown and not revealed.

The HSBC bank logo is seen at their offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain. Image credit Reuters

“The Black Lives Matter movement has rightly created a more urgent demand for action,” Quinn explained.

“I want us to be judged by the concrete, sustainable actions we take to be a more diverse and inclusive bank.”

Unsurprisingly, the move by HSBC to promote and hire more senior Black employees follows similar moves by other banks around the world including Goldman Sachs and Lloyds Banking Group.

HSBC has also hired a recruiting firm to help it engage Black and ethnically diverse talent for leadership roles, Quinn added.

However, is this just a strategic move, or the beginning of a brighter diverse and more inclusive journey?


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