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The racial work gap for financial advisors

todayMay 12, 2023

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    The racial work gap for financial advisors NPR

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After a successful career in advertising, Erika Williams decided it was time for a change. She went back to school to get an MBA at the University of Chicago, and eventually, in 2012, she got a job at Wells Fargo as a financial advisor. It was the very job she wanted.

Erika is Black–and being a Black financial advisor at a big bank is relatively uncommon. Banking was one of the last white collar industries to really hire Black employees. And when Erika gets to her office, she’s barely situated before she starts to get a weird feeling. She feels like her coworkers are acting strangely around her. “I was just met with a lot of stares. And then the stares just turned to just, I mean, they just pretty much ignored me. And that was my first day, and that was my second day. And it was really every day until I left.”

She wasn’t sure whether to call her experience racism…until she learned that there were other Black employees at other Wells Fargo offices feeling the exact same way.

On today’s episode, Erika’s journey through these halls of money and power. And why her story is not unique, but is just one piece of the larger puzzle.

Today’s show was produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry with help from Emma Peaslee. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. They also assisted with reporting. It was edited by Sally Helm. Engineering by James Willets with help from Brian Jarboe.

Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

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Music: “Record Breaker,” “Simple Day,” and “On the Money.”

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Written by: NPR

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