Taking diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into consideration in your hiring process is nothing new, and many agencies and departments have targets in place such as the APS’ commitment to increase the representation of people with disability from 1.5% to the target of 5%, or NSW Government’s commitment to having 50% of senior leadership roles held by women and increasing the number of Aboriginal people in senior leadership roles.
VicHealth has evidence-based research that clearly demonstrates how diversity can be good for business. Including (in their words):
- enhance business performance and productivity
- increase innovate and creative thinking
- save time and money
- reduce risk
- promote staff health and wellbeing.
But whilst the business case is there, and there are also many wins to celebrate, there are also many instances of diversity hiring targets not being met and percentages remaining stagnant across the public sector. So what can we do to help move the numbers forward?
What is the traditional approach to tackling diversity hiring?
Traditional approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion come with great merit. Positive examples of traditional approaches that can help eliminate some barriers preventing DEI in your organisation include: changing the language used in job descriptions or changing how you perform LinkedIn searches. But these measures only address a small number of diversity barriers and human bias can still get in the way. These measures alone are not enough.
A holistic approach to DEI initiatives is necessary, and what isn’t commonly known is that your recruitment technology can have a large impact on your ability to attract and hire diverse talent. For example, further addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in employee policy – while important and absolutely necessary – does not attract diverse candidates to your agency in the first place, making these measures somewhat futile if you’re not also proactively attracting and hiring diverse candidates in the first place.
Many companies work to address workplace diversity based on research that suggests they need to improve their DEI initiatives during the recruitment process (ie. screening, interviewing, etc). However, the primary focus on this part of the recruitment process can be misleading.
LiveHire research shows that diverse candidates need to be reached at the very beginning of the talent pipeline to achieve better diversity within an organisation.
The research found by only considering diversity, equity and inclusion later in the recruitment process, you do not address the many barriers throughout the recruitment pipeline that prevent diverse applicants from being hired.
What is the new approach to tackling diversity hiring?
Although diversity, equity and inclusion still need to be addressed further down the line, it’s important to source diverse candidates by addressing diversity roadblocks early in your recruitment process. And it starts with how you pipeline talent.
One example which highlights the importance of addressing diversity, equity and inclusion from the very beginning of the candidate pipeline can be seen in gender diversity. A Forbes study found that men will apply for a role if they meet at least 60% of the desired job qualifications – but women will only apply if they meet 100% of them.
And our research backs this up, the latest LiveHire data from over 100 customers found that even in traditionally male-dominated industries, women are progressed through the recruitment funnel (ie. interview, screening, etc.) at nearly the same rate as men. If candidates are progressing at the same rate through the recruitment funnel, then the bias must be found in another place in the recruitment process – the sourcing and engagement of candidates.
And this is where the fix is.
If you create a talent pipeline of engaged candidates in advance of raising a job requisition. You will get to know each other in advance, and then at the right moment offer them the opportunity to apply, you mitigate the Forbes research mentioned above, progress diverse candidates at the same pace, and overall you give yourself a better chance of hitting your diversity hiring targets.
If you want to take a look at the full research, it can be downloaded here.