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Diversity in IMF Management Ranks Seen Falling Short of Targets

The International Monetary Fund is having a hard time making its management ranks more balanced in gender and nationality as an annual report showed the crisis lender falling short of self-imposed diversity targets.

While the share of women and staff from East Asia and Africa in management jobs increased from the year earlier in the year ended April 30, it is still below targets set for the end of the current fiscal year, the report released today showed. The share of staff from the Middle East reached the fund’s target, while emerging European economies slipped.

“The fund has become a more diverse and inclusive organization in recent years, and further progress was made in the past year,” according to the “Diversity and Inclusion” report. “However, continued efforts need to be made, and not only because it appears highly unlikely at this point that the full set of diversity benchmarks will be attained by the target date.”

While IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has made diversity at the Washington-based IMF a priority, the institution has some catching up to do. As of the end of 2012, women at the fund held 22 percent of management jobs, compared with 37 percent at the World Bank and 34 percent at the Inter-American Development Bank, according to today’s report.

The IMF aims to have 25 percent to 30 percent of women in management by the end of this fiscal year.

Nationality Targets

National diversity is another area that the IMF is addressing.

The fiscal 2014 target for managers from Africa is 6 percent, which compares with a 2013 rate of 4.8 percent. East Asian made up 5.7 percent of managers, 1.3 percentage points under the objective. At 2.1 percent, emerging Europe is 1.9 percentage points short of the 4 percent target. Only the Middle East’s 5.4 percent already surpassed a 5 percent goal.

“The pace of progress toward the diversity benchmarks has been affected by changes to the fund’s workforce and budget environment, which has changed considerably over the last 10 years,” according to the report.

Job cuts in 2008 and a weak job market after the global financial crisis contributed to a decline in staff turnover, making the goals harder to reach, it said.

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