Inclusive recruitment still a challenge
Inclusive recruitment should be a priority for all companies, however in many it’s simply not happening and it’s even going backwards in some. Here are some of the challenges companies face and how tougher measures could change the playing field.
The World Economic Forum says that 78% of organizations are actively trying to recruit more women. Despite the increased in women graduates to almost 60% in many developed geographies and the higher numbers present in the workplace it is still a challenge to meet this demand via sourcing and attracting female candidates. The reality is that despite pronouncements such as this from the larger organisations, women remain under-represented especially in the upper echelons of their companies. Most women are employed by SMEs where commitment to inclusive recruitment may not be as strong. In some areas we are even seeing regression where the needle is actually moving backwards. Another significant barrier is the role of unconscious bias in the recruitment process, which shifts the focus away from the skills required for any particular job.
The World Economic Forum also indicates that it will take 169 years for organic gender parity to be achieved in our global workplaces. For many this is far too slow, not just from a sense of gender justice but in business terms. The research is incontrovertible whether we reference Deloitte, McKinsey, PWC, the World Economic Forum or the World Bank. Diversity makes business sense. CEOs claim to be boosting their inclusive recruitment efforts, but studies suggest that a stronger effort is needed to engage, or maybe compel, middle managers in these efforts to speed up the results. Some tech companies are already starting to link KPIs to the building of gender balanced and diverse teams because they are recognised as being higher functioning. This includes results in general talent management and business and financial success.
Toxic cultures and discrimination
Difficulties in inclusive recruitment are further exacerbated by the high levels of widely reported gender discrimination and the reputation of toxic and sexist cultures in certain sectors. Financial services and tech are frequently cited as generating concern. A report from PWC into inclusive recruitment in the Financial Services revealed that:
Nearly 30% of the 232 women working in FS3 we surveyed believe that recruitment in the industry is biased in favour of men. A similar proportion believe that experienced women are less likely to be hired than male counterparts.
Research from JUMP, Brussels reports that 80% of women experience sexism in the workplace with 23% experiencing sexual harassment. The growth of social proofing sites such as Fairy God Boss and In Her Sight make it increasingly easy for women to cross reference and share their experiences. So employers will need to wise up. Adding in the lack of promotion possibilities and widely reported gender pay gaps, it’s hardly surprising that inclusive recruitment has a long way to go.
Although having CEOs on board is always better than the alternative, serious steps need to be taken to get the men (and it is usually men) who are hiring managers to embrace the concept of inclusive recruitment in real terms and not just pay lip service to it.