September 23, 2020

Dear Wells Fargo: Your Lack Of Diversity Is Not Because Of Pipeline Issues

By Janice Gassam Asare

The CEO of Wells Fargo has made headlines because of statements regarding the reason for the company’s lack of diversity. CEO Charles W. Scharf stated in June that the company’s lack of diversity stems from a “limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.” Scharf points to the popular pipeline problem that many corporate leaders claim to be the reason why diversity has become ever elusive. Systemic racism is likely the reason why Wells Fargo is unable to attract qualified Black candidates. This isn’t the first time Wells Fargo has been accused of racially discriminatory behavior. In 2012, the company paid $175 million in fines for their role in selling subprime mortgages to Black and Hispanic borrowers who qualified for prime loans. These same allegations were made against the bank again in 2018 and the company paid $2.1 billion in fines. The pipeline problem provides corporate leaders with the perfect scapegoat that can be used at will to justify an organization’s inability to accomplish diversity goals. Rather than focusing on the perceived lack of qualified applicants in the pool, there are a number of things companies can do to attract and retain diverse talent.