Despite good intentions, companies are failing to progress on Diversity and Inclusion

SmartRecruiters’ 2021 State of Diversity Hiring Report finds a severe gap between awareness of the importance of implementing D&I initiatives, and tangible action

The results of its 2021 State of Diversity Hiring Report is based on over 400 self-assessments, of global talent leaders in small to mid-sized companies across the UK, EMEA, US, LATAM and APAC finds that despite an agreed awareness of the importance of diverse and inclusive cultures, a majority of businesses are failing to adopt simple measures to ensure success. 

Over half (51%) of all respondents admit that they don’t have a process for setting diversity hiring goals. Interestingly the report also found that companies in Europe and North America are less likely to have strategies and processes in place for setting diversity hiring goals than their peers in South/Latin America, Asia and Pacific, and Africa.  

As the European region consists of several markets, it appears some markets are reacting more quickly than others to address the issues of diversity and inclusion within their organisations. In the UK for example, only 2.6 percent of people on tech company boards are ethnic minorities, and women only make up 17 percent of the UK IT workforce even though D&I has been a topic of discussion over the past few months. Ultimately, across the board there is a vast gap between awareness and action.  

The survey* suggests that organisations are struggling to translate their vision, into strategy that attracts diverse talent, alongside retaining them with an inclusive environment. Attracting diverse talent requires a deliberate, highly strategic partnership between the D&I, talent acquisition, and marketing teams. Yet only 25 percent of respondents report their organisations have these functions working closely together to drive change.   

Organisations are also neglecting opportunities to nurture the diverse talent they currently have. Fair and competitive internal hiring plays a critical role in D&I success, yet many respondents reveal their companies do not follow best practices to engage diverse employees. For example, less than 15% of participants currently scrub identifying factors from internal applications to minimise bias from hiring managers and give diverse internal talent a fair shot.   

Increasing investment into diversity and inclusion efforts is one way to guarantee success – however the SmartRecruiters’ report finds companies’ financial investments in their D&I hiring programmes map intentions. Whilst 68 percent of organisations have a budget for D&I, underfunding of diversity hiring programs appears to be consistent across companies of varying sizes. 

“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 colour 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,” states Jerome Ternyck, Founder and CEO, SmartRecruiters. 

*Survey from SmartRecruiters

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