Despite companies having good intentions around diversity, equity and inclusion (D,E&I), recruitment platform SmartRecruiters’ 2021 State of Diversity Hiring Report found that there has not been much progress or success in actually making hiring more diverse and inclusive.
The report found that globally there is a gap between awareness and action and that companies are struggling to translate their vision into a strategy that attracts and retains diverse talent.
SmartRecruiters’ survey of 400 talent leaders in EMEA, North America, Latin America, and Asia Pacific (APAC) found that 51% had no process to set diversity and hiring goals. A major issue is that even those that do set goals don’t conduct research to see if they are right for the types of jobs they are hiring.
Surprisingly, Europe and North America were worst at setting the diversity goals, compared to peers in Africa, Latin America, and APAC.
SmartRecruiters senior vice-president of EME Robert Symons noted that issues in diversity and inclusion can be polarizing in North America. This is because company politics and bureaucracy can stifle progress toward a solid plan.
Other concerns identified in the report are that companies are missing opportunities to share their D,E&I strategy with applicants, as well as to nurture the diverse talent they already have. This is often because bias can still creep in during hiring processes.
SmartRecruiters notes that companies are failing to create a scenario where under-represented workers can see themselves working for you. Doing this better, would be good for brand reputation and help them attract a more diverse pool of talent.
The energy, food, tech, and finance sectors are particularly bad at this, according to SmartRecruiters. Across all sectors, employers are getting better at showing they are inclusive in terms of race and gender, but less good at doing the same for other minorities, like LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, or people of different faiths.
How to drive diversity progress
Talking about the results, SmartRecruiters founder and CEO Jerome Ternyck stated: “Our research reveals a distinct lack of action from companies around the globe despite a clear awareness of the importance of a divertive and inclusive workforce.
“Diversity and inclusion efforts should not be tick-boxes or simply stated on a corporate website but not followed through.
“Companies should commit to building an arsenal of diverse employees regardless of sexuality, gender, or skin color and then create a workplace culture that supports their needs.
“We are entering a talent shortage internationally, and to attract the best talent and the next generation of talent, companies must show a commitment to D&I and be able to back it up with evidence.”
To achieve this, the report calls on D,E&I teams to work closely with talent acquisition and marketing teams. Commitments and actions also need to have “senior-level sponsorship”, according to Symons.
“Without the right sponsorship, D&I leaders struggle to effect change in the organizations they’re operating in — despite doing a really good job in terms of quality, focus, and building awareness.”
This feeds into SmartRecruiters calling on companies to increase their budgets for diverse hiring – the budget must be sufficient for the company to actually achieve these goals and show candidates and current employees they are serious about diversity and inclusion.
SmartRecruiters calls on companies to invest in a candidate relationship management (CRM) tool.
Vice-president of product Frances Ibe noted: “Leveraging a CRM as part of your talent acquisition toolkit allows companies to not only build a candidate pipeline but to effectively communicate with these passive candidates.
“Proactive and relevant candidate communication is going to be critical in attracting top talent.”
To further help companies be laser-focused on diversity in hiring, SmartRecruiters has launched a new diversity toolkit.
It aims to give companies a broad view of where they are succeeding and where they need to work harder with regard to D,E&I. It also provides solutions, including what types of strategies and tools, they should introduce and implement.