Let’s talk about attracting and retaining diverse candidates. According to ISE 2020 Student Recruitment Report "most employers (63%) have specific recruitment targets designed to increase the diversity of their hires" to ensure a diverse workforce. 

The most frequently used actions are:

1- Targeting particular groups

2- Changing universities

3- Tailoring marketing materials / methods. 

These are all easy to 'say' or plan to do it. Getting results with them... well that's trickier. 

When we secured the Civil Service Fast Stream the coveted Times Top 100 #1 spot it was through deep understanding of a diverse audience and telling their stories. We work with over 100,000 under 25-year olds every year - talking to them, helping them with interviews, applications, and assessments. We listen and learn and translate this into results for clients who are serious about turning the dial on diversity.  

However, telling the stories isn't always enough. With many organisations, there is a stigma attached to the industry, or misconceptions about what that organisation is about, or outdated understanding of the roles.  This can be overcome but not without a savvy blended approach. 

To increase female candidates, for example, it is essential to mix storytelling, with a niche targeted marketing strategy, with unique narrative that amplifies who you are. This gets results every time. We smashed Vodafone's female applications numbers, adding a third more in one season because our research told us that female candidates refer to twice as many online sources than their male counterparts when deciding who to apply for. To get results here, we implemented a cohesive digital strategy specifically designed for them. 

Are you worried about budget? Or doing more with less? 

That's manageable too. We saved over £1m last year for clients on their media spend. This year, with graduate programmes down by c 12% and candidates applying for more roles than ever before, just a little online presence will generate a flood of applications. The ISE cites 60 applications per role. We are seeing 10 times that in the programmes we manage....

... The real challenge is a creating a brand message that attracts the candidates you want, dissuades the ones that aren't right for you, and is distinctively and authentically 'you'. 

Companies rightly want to represent the communities in which they operate, and gender is certainly a priority for STEM roles. On the other hand, ISE research last year showed that race and ethnicity is the strand of diversity prioritised by most organisations. 

It is commonly known that apprenticeships are a reliable method for bringing in BIPOC and Asian (formerly referred to as BAME) talent into an organisation. 

Yet our experience shows us that reaching minority ethnic groups is more complex than simply knowing your audience, targeting them, and connecting with them through stories and role models. 

You are stepping into a world where parents and family are greater influencers. When we investigated experience this group of society have in applying for early careers roles, we were startled to learn that candidates from underrepresented groups are 8% more likely to decide not to apply for a role because they believe they would be unsuccessful during the recruitment process.  

It is simply not enough to tell good stories. Companies must relieve anxiety, take away concerns, and build the confidence of potential applicants - before they have even decided to apply. 

We achieved a fantastic 14% increase in BIPOC and Asian hires for Transport for London. They're an employer who have had deep challenges with their employer brand and misconceptions about careers. Our campaign nurtured potential candidates and transformed the diversity mix of their early careers pipeline. 

In summary, here's how to diversify your early careers applications:

* Keep refreshing your messages because, just as the outside world has changed, the concerns of your audience have changed too. 

* Make your social activity speak to the hearts and minds of the talent you want, and their parents. 

* Connecting with them is not enough. You must support them, individually and personally.