Quarter of employers do nothing to improve top-level diversity


A quarter of employers (24%) make no effort to attract and recruit more diverse candidates for top-level jobs.

That is according to a report from the CIPD and and RPO provider Omni who are calling on organisations to be more strategic about attracting and recruiting diverse candidates to fill senior roles – and to broaden their outreach.

Employers can’t expect to make meaningful change through a leave-it-and-see policy“ – Claire McCartney, CIPD

The Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey 2020, which polled 660 employers, did however show that some organisations had more success improving diversity more broadly, with 41% recruiting a more diverse workforce in the last year.

Less than a quarter (23%) of employers go beyond basic legislative requirements on protected characteristics with regards to their recruitment and selection processes. Reserachers found that only 37% monitor recruitment to obtain diversity data, and just 27% remove certain biographical details from initial selection processes.

One third of employers ensure they have a diverse interview panel or hiring team and 23% check that the selection tests they use are valid, reliable and objective.

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said: “The findings of this report suggest that improvements in workforce diversity have happened by accident rather than design. We could be making quicker and considerable progress with a more strategic approach.

“It’s particularly disappointing to find that a quarter of organisations are not doing anything to improve boardroom diversity. Not only is this where the problem is most acute, as the Parker Review and other research shows, but achieving change here would have maximum impact. We need to have a broad range of diverse people in decision-making roles and be role models for future talent.”

The use of technology during the recruitment and selection process – from chatbots to video CVs – was also examined, with 28% of employers say it helped to reduce unconscious bias to a large or moderate extent – and they are also more likely to report that technology has increased the diversity of their hires.

However, the report notes it’s important that tech recruitment solutions are tested to make sure they aren’t disadvantaging candidates and are accessible to all.

“Employers can’t expect to make meaningful change through a leave-it-and-see policy, “ added McCartney. “Improving diversity needs to be actively worked on and we’d encourage all employers to add much more rigour, consistency and challenge into their recruitment and selection processes.”

Louise Shaw, director resourcing transformation at Omni RMS, said: “Despite some positive findings, it’s disappointing that little progress has been made since 2017. The #BlackLivesMatter protests brought the racial inequalities within our societies and workplaces into sharp focus, and we believe organisations must be held accountable for ensuring greater racial and, of course, broader diversity at the very top.

“Recruiting diverse talent is only the start and organisations need to be reporting externally on their true effectiveness by measuring inclusive engagement, retention, and career development. This is what will give organisations full visibility of what is and isn’t working so they can make informed changes and realise the business benefits.”

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