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Growth through Diversity

The topic of Diversification in the work place has been a hot topic for some time now and most HR professionals have well-crafted Diversity, Equality and Inclusion statements and plans for their organisations. However, when it comes to recruiting new talent on a day to day basis this is not as widely discussed as you may think.

Take gender diversity for example, In 2010, the 30% Club launched as a campaign in the UK with a goal of achieving a minimum of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards. As a recruiter we strive to promote an equal representation of male and females when presenting suitable candidates for senior appointments.

However, surprisingly this topic is rarely discussed by our clients when we are asked to take on a recruitment mandate. I have been recruiting for the Irish market for the past 15 years and I can count on one hand the times I have been asked to consider the gender balance for a short list. According to the 30% Club, Ireland is the lowest of it’s chapters with only 10.3% female representation on boards!

Research around diversity in the workplace clearly shows that for every 1% increase in gender diversity, company revenue increases by 3%. While high levels of ethnic diversity increase revenue by a whopping 15% and according to Johnny Campbell of Social Talent, when you have a more diverse group representing an organisation, you have more opinions, backgrounds, experience and perspectives on how to run a business. As a result of this diversity, it can respond to a wider range of customer needs, which in turn leads to higher profitability.

He states that diversity helps with better candidate attraction. According to Glassdoor, 67% of active and passive job seekers say that when evaluating companies and job offers, it is important to them that the company has a diverse workforce as well as recognising that it gives companies more engaged employees. To back this up, research from CEB Global and Talent Innovation explains that diverse and more inclusive workforces demonstrate:

We all agree it is a good thing to have more gender diversity and it makes sense to try an increase female leadership at board levels starting at the top. However, I feel this topic needs to be discussed at every level of recruitment. An interesting fact by Alastair Lukies, Chairman, Innovative Finance and UK Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Fintech and founder of Motive Partners, shows that the largest demographic alive today is between 18-35-year olds. He also pointed out that in the insurance industry, for example, 45% of executives are set to retire within 3 years and 400,000 jobs are likely to be vacant by 2020! He also noted that less than 5% of millennials express an interest of joining the insurance industry. As numbers show above, a diverse work force is a must to attract talent but this topic needs to filter down from not just the C-Suite search mandates but to higher volume day to day agency recruitment.

A search and selection recruiter should be a partner – an extension of your company. We have a lot of scope to influence candidates on the market. A good recruiter will meet on average 6 candidates per week, that is about 300 per year. Imagine how many conversations around female leadership and diversity could have taken place. But sadly, we are never asked to bring this topic to our interview and candidate selection process.

I strongly believe that consultants should have an awareness around diversification and undertake un-bias training. Being in the business of talent, no recruiter should be interviewing candidates for your organisation without having a firm grasp of what your organisation’s aim is around this topic. But there is a separation between HR and recruitment nowadays which I urge companies to close. We can, and should have, so many important conversations in the marketplace and make our selection process align with yours – so that we can all make more informed decisions around talent for our country to prosper!