Companies are constantly asked to adapt and evolve as the landscape they find themselves in changes, and often demands more of them. When it comes to making changes – increasing Early Talent diversity represents both a priority, and a significant challenge.
The profile of the Early Talent market is changing, and becoming more and more competitive. In fact – in 2017, the number of students planning to go to University fell to its lowest level in 8 years. But, the disparities between what companies think diversity means, and what it actually means are making it even more difficult to plan for and achieve.
Diversity in an organisation is about encouraging a wholly-inclusive workforce – meaning employees of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultural beliefs, amongst many other things. However, this is just touching the surface – Early Talent diversity goes much deeper.
It’s about recruiting people from all backgrounds, and making your application process accessible to all of those groups, whom have different perspectives, ideologies, perceptions of how and why things work the way they do. It’s about bringing different ideas and opinions together into your organisation to allow them to work cohesively towards business goals.
Adding value through diversity
Part of the motivation for a company wanting to increase Early Talent diversity comes in the understanding of how it truly adds value to the business. Lots of organisations are currently saying they want a more diverse pool of Early Talent, as well as a more diverse workforce in general – however, the reality of them making it happen is very different.
That being said – there are a number of concomitant benefits of a diverse Early Talent workforce:
- Increased productivity, work rate and efficiency. In fact, 72% of private sector companies said there was a direct link between diversity and performance;
- Increased employee morale and teamwork;
- An increase in innovation and innovative thinking, through alternative perspectives and ideas on the same issue;
- A significant reduction in employee turnover when compared to pre-Diversity statistics;
- Positive employer branding, meaning that, once diversity begins to increase, it’ll be easier to attract a more diverse pool of candidates, and;
- The competitiveness of your business, both within your workforce and as an organisation, is enhanced.
Given all of the above – it would seem crazy that a company wouldn’t invest tonnes of resource into developing their Early Talent diversity.
Issues with Early Talent Diversity
The biggest issue we’ve found, coming from our Early Talent clients, is the candidate ‘fitting’ with the organisations current workforce and culture. However, this is built entirely around the people within it – if your current workforce isn’t as diverse as you’d like it to be, then you’re going to have your work cut out.
There is also the issue of blurred lines between diversity and social mobility in a company. Diversity tends to refer to recognising all forms of difference – whereas Social Mobility refers to the ability of those from disadvantaged backgrounds to move. The lines are blurred because the two are actually linked in some areas – for example, the fact that female BAME candidates are the least likely to move.
However, it’s important for a company to really focus on diversity, and distinguish it from Social Mobility.
Minimum requirements in Early Talent recruitment make increasing diversity a lot more difficult, too. There’s evidence that shows that people from certain backgrounds, that went to certain types of schools, are less likely to achieve the 2:1 grade that most companies ask for. This begs the question – are we asking for too much? There’s also evidence that shows a 2:1, whilst it is a very good grade and a fantastic achievement for a student, doesn’t necessarily constitute an employee that will do the role better than someone with a 2:2.
We are starting to see movement, especially in much larger companies, towards reducing this barrier that candidates have to overcome in order to even be considered for assessment – and, companies that do this are reaping the rewards.
Without a doubt – diversity is, and should be, an organisational priority. But, with issues in the way of an already established workforce, and role requirements that instantly alienate certain candidates – it’s becoming more and more of a challenge for companies to overcome.
However, rest assured, there are recruitment strategies and initiatives that you, as an employer, can implement in order to help you get closer to achieving your Early Talent diversity goals.
What issues have you found with increasing diversity? What strategies have you implemented or initiatives have you started to help you in the right direction?
Comment below – we’d love to hear your stories!