We have a real focus on diversity here at PeopleScout, in fact, we have a tendency to get a bit ‘geeky’ about it.
A client recently asked us to review their diversity data throughout the process, and here’s the result of one of the dashboards:
You see that big purple chunk? That’s a BAME/BIPOC segment. 25% going in 13% to offer.
White stands at 69% in, and 79% at offer.
Where does this change happen? At face to face interview.
Not to rub salt in the wound, if we dig a little deeper, it doesn’t get any better:
Look at the light purple wedge. That’s the Black/African/Caribbean/Black British segment. 9% in 0% offers. 6% made it to interview though, but not a single person from that category had an offer.
If we attracted a thousand people who identify as Black, how many of those good people would we lose at face to face interview?
Thankfully, I don’t know the answer, but I could take a guess. And it would make a pretty sobering read.
Of course now the client has sight of what’s happening, we’re working with them to resolve the issue.
All too often as recruitment marketing professionals, my team and I get asked:
“Where can I post this advert to attract a diverse range of people”
In fact, I’ve had this very conversation three or four times last week, no joke!
And it’s led to a number of really interesting conversations, both within my team, but also with friends.
From the team, and I’ve summarised:
“Why is it that to solve the ‘belonging’ issue, we look to the ‘differences’ for the solution?”
From a friend, and again I summarise:
“If a guy feels more comfortable in a dress, why do we need to label that? Why can’t we accept that he’s a guy who’s more comfortable in a dress?”
And it ultimately comes down to people placing other people in boxes. Boxes like; BAME, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Disability, Male, Female and Non-Binary.
Over this last year I’ve learned A LOT about my white privilege. And I’ll be honest it took some time for me to come to terms with it.
It’s a tricky one, as we kind of need boxes to help bring about change. Before I’d learned so much, I was colour blind, and I thought that was the best way to be. I now know, I was part of the problem.
I asked a team member what they thought would happen if I walked into work wearing a skirt. How would others view me? Does it mean I can do my job any less well? Of course, the answer is no. But what box would that put me in, from someone else’s perspective?
When will people realise that there is no ‘normal’, or ‘average’?
It simply doesn’t exist. We’re all different. In our own ways.
Difference brings strength. Not weakness.
You see, all too often the problem isn’t at the top of the funnel. It’s further down, much further down in the case above.
And as with many things, you don’t know, what you don’t know.
Admittedly It could be the advert, the language used, the amount of minimum criteria. We can evidence the impact of these things with similar graphs to the above. And if we changed those we could potentially pour more diversity in at the top of the funnel.
But sadly, right here, the problem is; people.
People have a need to put other people in boxes, familiar boxes that have a bias, good, bad or indifferent. It comes from the same place as our Fight, Flight or Freeze reaction does. And the bias is either conscious or unconscious.
Until recruiters or recruitment leaders have looked in detail at their recruitment pipeline with a diversity lens. We’re simply guessing what the problem is. And have as much chance of hitting a bullseye wearing a blindfold as being right.
We can help you unlock your data and point out where the problems lurk, and once we both know, we can also help you fix them.
It's easy to put people in boxes. There's us and there's them. The high earners, and those just getting by. Those we trust and those we try to avoid.