Wall St. Journal Reports ‘ferment’ on Jewish Jobs in Executive Suite

The Wall Street Journal, in a front page survey, has reported that Jewish efforts to persuade certain industries to accept Jewish applicants for executive and managerial posts had produced a “broad ferment at large corporations.” The survey cited the parallel national campaigns launched recently by the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

The report said that the two organizations, “in quiet negotiations over the past two and a half years, have helped start programs to recruit Jews at companies like First Pennsylvania Banking and Trust Company in Philadelphia and at such corporate giants as American Telephone and Telegraph Company, Scott Paper Company, Pennsylvania Railroad Company and, according to the American Jewish Committee, Southern California Edison, a major utility.

Referring to “the changing nature of resistance to employment of Jewish executives,” the survey commented: “Outright discrimination still exists but it is less prevalent than in past years, observers say. More often, companies simply have been slow to implement their own oft-stated policies that they hire and promote solely on the basis of merit.”

The survey reported that one important area of “Jewish” jobs, the small or individually operated business, ” has been in sharp decline” recently in this country, and this fact “has provided more urgency for the current employment drives at large companies.” Some executives reportedly consider findings of few Jews in top management in insurance. banking and utilities as misleading because, in big companies, “it usually takes 20 to 30 years to reach the top jobs. The fact that there aren’t many Jewish executives around now might show there was discrimination 25 years ago, but it doesn’t say much about the current state of affairs.” these executives assert.

LARGE FIRMS SEE JUSTICE IN JEWISH DEMANDS; ACTUAL RECRUITMENT BEGUN

Many of the larger companies do not argue when confronted with data on non-employment of Jews. John W. Kingsbury, the assistant vice-president for personnel at AT&T, told the Wall Street Journal that “we have been pushing harder to make our recruiters aware of any biases they might have.” The company this year plans, along with its usual college recruiting, a program of “selective recruiting at schools like Brandeis University, which have a high percentage of Jewish students.”

Scott Paper Company began contacting Hillel directors last year before recruiting trips, and it also began consulting Philadelphia Jewish businessmen for referrals, while working with Jewish-owned employment agencies to attract more Jews to its management training programs.

This spring, after an appeal from the American Jewish Committee, the United States Labor Department began preliminary moves by asking religious data on headquarters employees of insurance companies that handle Medicare funds and banks that hold Federal Government deposits.

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