Every company wants to hire the best candidate for the job. Obviously. What is, perhaps, less obvious, is that the best candidate might not be the person who looks perfect on paper. And sometimes, the best workplace cohesion and communication, comes from hiring people who are different, not all the same. Skills are important, but diversity should also be a priority. Why? Because out of 500 companies surveyed, a 1% increase in gender and racial diversity, correlated with a 3-9% increase in sales revenue (Ideal). Diversifying your workforce results in a higher level of creativity, productivity, and talent attraction and retention, so what is diversity, why is it important and how can you implement it?
Diversity & Inclusion: What is it, and where is the issue?
Currently, women only make up approximately 17% of the UK Technology Sector workforce and there is between 0-4% BAME representation on any of the UK Top 16 Tech Company’s Boards. Furthermore, people with Chinese, Pakistani, or Indian-sounding names are 27% less likely to be invited to interview than someone with an English-sounding name. Plus, only 16% of autistic adults are in full time work, with only 32% of them in any type of paid work (Druther’s Search). It's safe to say, that there isn't enough diversity, and by neglecting these groups of people and failing to challenge the status quo, companies are stagnating. They are missing out on an extended talent pool of potentially great candidates and are rapidly falling behind companies who are adapting. Attitudes and approaches to diverse recruitment needs to change if businesses are to continue to grow in the current landscape.
Diversity can be roughly split into two main groups; inherent diversity (demographic characteristics) and acquired diversity (learned/gained characteristics). These include, but are not limited to gender, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, class, education, experience, and neurodiversity. Companies that have a diverse workforce have a competitive advantage as it has been proven that diversity contributes to increased innovation, performance, and overall business outcomes, as well as an average increase of 4% employee engagement, with client retention following the same trend.
The Benefits of Diversity
Beneficially, a diverse workforce will also better reflect a wider range of potential clients or consumers, which means products become more suitable and marketable to a wider consumer pool. Additionally, diversity results in more creative problem solving as employees can collectively draw on a range of knowledge, experiences, ideas, and opinions. Internally, diversity results in a more cohesive, creative, successful, and reflective workforce, thus boosting productivity, problem solving, and return of investment. Many also suggest that a more inclusive workforce contributes to a more positive and empowering environment, thus improving employee hiring and retention.
Having this positive and welcoming work culture can definitely make recruitment easier. 67% of jobseekers say that diversity is important to them when considering a company or a job offer (Ideal), so where diversity is evident, it sells the company as non-discriminatory and as a supporter of equal opportunity. Ethically, and morally, this stands the company in a good light, often meaning that candidate attraction and retention flourishes. Namely because people from all walks of life will feel happy and comfortable working there and will stay, and because, by considering more candidates, you will open a larger candidate and talent pool.
Challenges & Solutions
Implementing diverse recruitment can pose initial challenges for businesses. For example, hiring people with varying levels of experience or knowledge might make it more difficult to start constructive debates over specific issues. And culturally, the business would have to adapt and learn how to fully and effectively promote inclusiveness, tackle stereotyping, and manage and analyse the effects of the inclusion effort. These obstacles can all be overcome by promoting a learning culture within the business, and encouraging all staff to communicate, learn from, and listen to each other. Businesses can also seek the help of experienced recruitment experts like Maxwell Bond, who can help streamline the recruitment process to attract a variety of top-quality candidates.
As diversity in the workplace comes under increased scrutiny and becomes more important, it is important that hiring managers and talent acquisition teams are fully aware of how they can diversify their recruitment. Maxwell Bond’s five top tips for attracting diverse talent are:
1. Write job specifications carefully, making sure you avoid alienating language. Women, for example, tend not to be less likely to apply for jobs that are for ‘competitive’, ‘ambitious’, ‘money-oriented’ people.
2. Develop policies for diverse candidates, by considering flexible working and other specific requirements on a case-by-case basis.
3. Be open-minded and avoid hiring just on a CV alone. A candidate with the most experience might not be the best fit for the role, whereas a candidate with less experience might be more driven, hungry to learn, and eager to prove themselves, making them a harder worker. Make sure you consider hard and soft skills when making hiring decisions.
4. Hire on aptitude and attitude as well as the sociable cultural fit.
5. Ensure you advertise on different platforms as people look for jobs in different ways. Typically, men are more likely to find roles through their network, whilst women are more likely to find roles using job boards (Ideal). By advertising on multiple platforms, you are widening your reach and increasing inclusivity.
We understand that hiring the best candidate for the role is imperative. However, the best candidate might not always be the obvious choice. Increased diversity means better business results for you and a much wider candidate pool to hire from. If you are looking to improve your D&I, contact Maxwell Bond today for help and advice with recruitment, and candidate attraction and retention.
Alternatively contact our Marketing Executive Beth to find out more about our upcoming event EMPOWER, a celebration of all women in tech, by sharing stories of struggle and usccess to inspire and ecnourage, and look at some of the aspects of diversity and inclusion in the tech workplace.