Diversity within Reach: Recruitment versus Hiring in Elite Firms

Lauren A. Rivera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Despite the popularity of diversity management, there is little consensus on how to design diversity practices that work. In this article, the author provides an inside look into one type of diversity practice: diversity recruitment. Drawing on qualitative evidence from hiring in elite law firms, investment banks, and management consulting firms, the author analyzes what diversity recruitment looks like in these firms in theory and in practice. The author finds that although these firms tend to have the ingredients for success on paper, in practice the presence of structural and status divides between those responsible for overseeing diversity recruitment and those making hiring decisions, alongside widespread cultural beliefs among decision-makers that diversity is not a valid criterion of evaluation, stymies firmsã¢â‚¬â„¢ efforts to diversify. The authorã¢â‚¬â„¢s findings highlight that to be successful in translating diversity programs into results, those charged with overseeing diversity programs need not only formal organizational authority but also sufficient informal power and status to wield influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-90
Number of pages20
JournalThe Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • culture
  • diversity
  • elites
  • gender
  • hiring
  • inequality
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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