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Can tech change diversity?

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Now more than ever, there’s a lot of pressure on businesses to create an inclusive working environment. And it’s safe to say that diversity hiring should be a top priority for every HR manager. But how do you get it right?

We've said it before, and we'll say it again — the recruitment system is broken. But not just in terms of employers losing their 'why', or even the millions of pounds wasted on job advertising each year (that's a whole other story). The fact is that businesses are also letting the side down by not prioritising diversity hiring.

You'll often see companies brandish big aspirational values across their meeting room walls claiming 'inclusive', 'caring', 'team players', and yet when you take a dive into the demographic make-up of their team it turns out their hiring process is flawed and far from caring and inclusive — hardly 'team player' mentality.

A quick recap on diversity hiring

Put simply, diversity hiring is when businesses or recruiters actively seek out and consider candidates from a range of backgrounds to ensure a fully inclusive hiring practice — free from prejudice against age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion and background. Likewise, diversity hiring is NOT hiring for the sake of diversity. Just think of it as hiring the best person for the job, with no discrimination.

And it's important, right?

Did you know that candidates are more likely to be drawn to a company that advocates a healthy, inclusive culture? If you're delving into your employer branding then promoting a non-bias, safe environment should be high on your priority list if you want to attract the kind of talent that's going to make a positive impact on your business and stick around. You also don't want to risk gaining a bad reputation for being an unfair employer when your competitors might be promoting their equality.

Tackling the problem

Let's run through some simple stats for you...

  • 78% of large UK companies pay men more than women
  • Nearly one in 10 LGBTQ employees have left a job because the environment was unwelcoming.
  • The employment rate for ethnic minorities is only 62.8% compared with an employment rate for white workers of 75.6%.
  • Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment — yet 77% of unemployed autistic adults say they want to work.

It's also a real worry that people with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani-sounding names are 28% less likely to be invited to an interview than candidates with English-sounding names.

When we look at these kinds of statistics it becomes evidently clear that not just companies, but the entire hiring system needs addressing if we are to take progressive steps towards true inclusivity.

How about this direction for a starter… It would require a significant overhaul, involving the collective agreements of all job boards and businesses alike to simply allow the removal of all names, ages, gender giveaways and referring to CVs as 'Candidate 1' for instance. Are we looking at a future where personal information is withheld from all applications? It goes without saying that this would be a huge leap,

What can you do now?

Employers looking to promote diversity hiring should take matters into their own hands and start by making requests such as eradicating people's names from an ATS (applicant tracking system to you and me) during the CV parsing process — removing gender and racial bias. The ATS would then put forward CVs based on who's best suited for the role, regardless of demographic. An initial blind interview stage could also be introduced before a face-to-face meeting to help remove any subconscious prejudices in the room.

Lastly, if you're promoting yourselves as an equal opportunities employer, then shout about it. Talk about it on social media, post recruitment videos to your careers page highlighting you diverse culture, send your HRD and leadership team on specialist recruitment training courses. In short, show your team and potential candidates that you're taking progressive steps to promote inclusivity.

Diversity! The ongoing debate… Let's keep it going, find me on LinkedIn or Twitter

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