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Diversity and inclusion is becoming increasingly important when it comes to attracting new candidates and surveys show employers are seeing the results.
Diversity and inclusion has been seen by some employers as a tick box issue or a nice to have, but not essential thing. However, a gap seems to be opening up between those who understand its importance and those who still don’t get it despite increasing pressure from oversight bodies and their peers.
The investment division of Goldman Sachs, for instance, says it will vote against publicly-traded firms if they do not improve diversity at the senior level. Nevertheless, the Financial Reporting Council recently warned about listed companies offering “boilerplate” statements that “are seldom substantiated by actions or examples”, with weak reporting on diversity.
Perhaps the recruitment crisis will spur greater action, with reports showing that taking diversity and inclusion seriously is crucial for talent attraction and retention.
One recent report underlines this. DWP’s Get the message report is based on a survey of 480 senior executives from eight sectors around the world about their environmental, social and governance [ESG] principles. Forty per cent found it difficult to recruit talent because of an external perception that their ESG policies are weak. The pandemic has been an accelerant for ESG, with more than half (52%) agreeing that ESG has become more important over the past 12-18 months. While ESG is fairly broad, 45 per cent say social trends like Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement have led them to re-examine their ESG goals.
Paul Farrer, chairman of recruitment firm Aspire, backed this up this week when he said that a company’s approach to diversity and inclusion is increasingly proving to be the difference between someone accepting or rejecting a job – or leaving their current role. “When so many organisations are struggling to recruit people to plug skills gaps as they look to recover from the pandemic, employers simply can’t afford to overlook this fundamentally important aspect of a job,” he warned. His comments came after a poll by Aspire found that for UK staff, it is either extremely important (39%) or very important (35%) that an organisation has a diversity and inclusion policy in place.
The direction of travel therefore is towards diversity and inclusion being a more central factor in recruitment. It’s not enough to be good at it either. Employers need to promote what they do so it is readily visible to prospective employees. It still amazes me that employers who I know are doing good things in terms of family friendly working, for instance, don’t make that information easily available on their website somewhere. If you do something well, you should say so and let people know. It could make all the difference in a highly competitive labour market.