The Diversity of Diversity: Improving Your Recruitment

A thumbnail showing a white man with short blonde hair, Rob Clowes, author of Amberjack's blog on the Diversity of Diversity.
So, you finally hit that 50% male and female hire ratio. You did it, well done! Diversity? Completed it.
Or maybe not…
You increased your BAME candidates? Nice. Pipeline looking good? Even better. Diversity? Completed it again.
Or not so much…

The Changing Face of Diversity

Diversity has changed. It’s now, believe it or not, pretty diverse.

It is time to move beyond solely focusing on gender or race. You need to dive deeper than surface-level and be open to all the possibilities that a true D&I strategy can bring to your Graduate and Apprentice programme.

To do that, there are more things to take into account. Diversify your diversity. Race, gender, age, neurodiverse status, sexual orientation, social background, disability, religion, linguistic variation and more. Many of these characteristics cannot be recognised at first glance and are revealed at the discretion of an individual, garnering them the name: hidden diversities. Embrace them all.

From lower turnover rates to higher job satisfaction, the varying ways people from different backgrounds can add value to your organisation is numerous:

  • Preliminary results of neurodiverse software-testing teams at HPE show they are 30% more productive than non-neurodiverse teams. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Legal sector research shows that trainees from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds are likely to be their firm’s highest performers. (Sutton Trust)
  • A study of 500+ organisations found that every 1% increase in gender and racial diversity is correlated with a 3% to 9% increase in sales revenue. (Ideal)
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. (McKinsey)
  • Ethnically diverse companies were shown to be 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median. (HULT)

The fact is, that organisations who dig deeper and embrace diversity, particularly the diversity of thought and behaviour brought in large part by hidden differences, are more likely to innovate and thrive in the modern world. A variety of viewpoints, considerations, thought-processes, and methods, can only be a good thing when discussing the ways in which organisations can develop and grow.

So, why are organisations struggling with diversity?

The Challenge

In Amberjack’s latest analysis of 2022 Early Talent recruitment data, we found that the conversion percentage for graduates (representing the percentage of graduate applicants from a certain group that are offered a job) is still much higher for White British applicants (4.06%) and lowest for Black applicants (1.62%).

Despite race and ethnicity being one of the most heavily scrutinised and prioritised areas for organisations, according to our latest Insights data, organisations are still ranking it as the biggest recruitment challenge; the progress appears to be slow-going. Why is this? If the area of highest priority is still seeing little progress, what does this mean for the areas with less focus, such as neurodiversity, or religion?

Addressing this might seem like a big task… because it is. Yet, in order for your company to grow, it’s vitally important and time is of the essence. It’s a very rare company that does not want to get more diverse, and in this heavily candidate-led market the competition is fierce. To get the best candidates you need to be one step ahead, and with talent pools expanding across regions due to the increase in remote and virtual workforces, competing for previously untapped talent is inevitable.

So, how can you ensure your organisation attracts this new talent? And how can you make sure that they aren’t adversely impacted and disadvantaged by your process?

The Solutions

If you’re struggling to find, attract, and keep diverse talent, you should ask yourself: is my organisation focusing on the right areas? Are you placing too much emphasis on past-experience?

One of the easiest ways to welcome more diverse talent is to hire for Potential and actually assess for it. Minority groups are less likely to be able to access opportunities such as internships (70% of which are unpaid), so when you’re talking about Early Talent in particular, measuring against past-experience immediately throws up disadvantages.

If you are trying to attract talent from backgrounds that may have had less opportunity, are you ensuring they can actually get through your recruitment process?

For example, where assessments are based on real-world scenarios and stories from existing team members, there can be issues resulting in hires that look like and match the existing team’s description. It is crucial to ensure that a variety of viewpoints and considerations go into the creation of any assessments for your recruitment. Just like how Amberjack worked with Neurodiversity expert Dr Nancy Doyle to review our new assessment.

Additionally, Amberjack found Attraction to be the second biggest recruitment challenge for organisations hiring early talent. Keep in mind, your graduates themselves are changing. They are growing up in a different world. The digital native is more open-minded, more inclined to change, and more conscious of the world they are about to enter. They will expect change, and it they don’t see it, they won’t apply.

You have to show off the very individuals you’re looking to attract.

An American study by Kaspersky, found that just 19% of women working in tech were inspired to take up their profession by a female role model, while 38% said that a lack of females in the sector made them wary of entering the profession. In addition, in our own panel featuring neurodiverse Early Talent last month, it became clear that your Early Talent wants to know the story behind the diverse talent you have hired; how did they find the recruitment process? Was your process accommodating to them?

You can discover more from our ‘Assessing Neurodiverse Candidates’ panel by requesting your copy of the transcript from the event.

There are many more methods and steps organisations can take to work towards a truly diverse organisation, and hiring diverse talent, but in competitive, hard-to-hire industries, deeper diversity attracts the best talent. Demonstrating true, continuous commitment, is crucial.

Difference Drives Business

In short, in order to get ahead, you need to diversify. You can’t just focus on gender or BAME rates. You need to open the doors to all, and you need to mean it. Difference drives a business forward. It sparks debate, informs decision making, and leads to innovation. Embrace this change.

It’s time to stop thinking about culture fit and thinking about culture add. Stop hiring people who look like you, who look like the rest of your business. Go beyond the surface and explore the ways your processes may be preventing diverse talent from making it through your pipeline. Start hiring a diversity of diversity and reap the benefits.

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