Speech by SEC Commissioner:
Recruiting the Best and the Brightest Means Striving for a Diverse Applicant Pool
Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Attorney Career Roundtable
May 3, 2010
I appreciate your kind introduction. I first want to thank the members of the SEC's African American Council for organizing this event and the featured speakers for agreeing to participate as panelists. As sponsor of the African American Council, I am pleased to be the moderator at an event that showcases the Commission's talent and is a forum to attract the best and the brightest to our ranks. As is customary, let me state that the views I express today are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Securities and Exchange Commission, my fellow Commissioners, or members of the staff.
As a result of recent budget allocations, the Commission is in a position to substantially expand its workforce — including adding numerous mid-to-senior level attorney positions. Recruiting the best and brightest requires hard work and careful thought. It doesn't happen by magic. Moreover, having a diverse pool and a strong pipeline is critical to a successful hiring process.
As a Commissioner of an agency known for insisting on "full and fair disclosure," I need to tell you the following that I am sure will not surprise you … the SEC is still not representative of our communities. The most telling numbers are of our senior officers. As of fiscal year 2009, the agency's senior officers were approximately 89% White, 4% African-American, 3% Hispanic, and 2% Asian. The gender breakdown among these officers is 67% male and 33% female. The SEC clearly needs to do more to recruit, retain and advance minority candidates at the professional and senior levels.
However, we have the opportunity to change this in real time. The Commission is engaged in a significant hiring effort right now and I would like to see our applicant pool be a diverse one. These opportunities to build capacity within an agency do not come along often and the SEC must take advantage of this opportunity.
With the Commission now engaged in a significant hiring increase, I am supportive of a broad effort to attract, recruit and select a diverse field of new employees. Indeed, I am proud to be associated with this Roundtable that has been designed as an outreach effort. This is a concrete step to take principles that have been expressed and turn them into action.
To be employed by the Commission is a great privilege and carries immense responsibilities. The events of the last two years have positioned the Commission at a crossroads where its responsibilities and mission are even more critical today. The Commission is in need of strong new hires who believe in serving the public and want to adhere and fulfill our mission. For better or worse, financial services issues and the SEC itself, captivate and dominate the public discussion in a manner unprecedented in recent history.
From the staff's perspective, almost every day there is a media article that discusses a market event, a legislative proposal, a regulatory initiative, or a filing of a major case by the SEC that serves as a reminder of the importance of what we do to protect investors and serve the public. In addition, as I can attest, there is a professional bond that attaches to all those who have once served at the Commission.
Before I conclude, I would like to outline today's program which is designed to provide you with information and to offer answers to any questions you may have about:
- How the Commission is structured;
- The mission and operation of the various divisions and offices;
- The benefits derived for you and the Commission if you become a part of this agency; and
- The essential steps of the application process.
During the session with the panelists you will have the opportunity to hear from a representative group of current SEC attorneys about the challenging and exciting career paths available at the SEC.
This event presents an opportunity for the SEC staff to show you why you should join the SEC. I invite you to interact and explore with the SEC staff whether your expertise, experiences and interests align with the Commission's need for a highly motivated, well qualified, diverse pool of prospective new members of the staff.