January 29, 2019 Recruiting diversity
Where does workforce diversity start? Should efforts be concentrated at the top of an organisation with a move to increase boardroom diversity; or should we be looking first at those just entering the workforce, promoting a diverse recruiting strategy which will eventually increase representation across the organisation? Organisations which are committed to promoting diversity know that what is required is a multi-level approach, with a diverse board cascading appropriate attitudes and behaviours downwards whilst simultaneously looking towards building equal opportunities and inclusion across the business.
We have written on the topic of diversity and inclusion on a number of occasions in the past; reporting on the way in which diversity can improve business outcomes as well as on national and international initiatives which are designed to promote a breath of thinking and experience at boardroom level. In this article we are highlighting two initiatives which are designed to encourage a more diverse entry into the workforce.
The first initiative comes from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is to put £500,000 into four new projects with a view to encouraging “more women BAME and neurodiverse candidates into a career in cyber security.” Part of the next round of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSI IF) the projects chosen are designed to “identify, train and place untapped talent from a range of backgrounds into cyber security roles.” Launching these programmes digital Minister Margot James said “our cyber security industry is thriving but to support this growing success we need a skilled and diverse workforce to match.”
The second initiative comes from the all-party Parliamentary group on Women and Work. Its most recent report “How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century” recommends a number of measures aimed at removing barriers which may be preventing young women from embarking upon apprenticeships. These include broadening the scope of apprenticeship levy funding, promoting flexible working, and encouraging employers to revisit their selection process. In this last area the report highlights how the wording on job advertisements can influence applications and the importance of ensuring that those involved in the selection process have appropriate training in interview techniques in order to minimise the chance of unconscious bias.
Launching the report, the Parliamentary group commented that “a more diverse workforce is better for companies, societies, and the economy” before calling on employers and policy-makers to “act now to shift the persistent obstacles that women face when entering, progressing in, and returning to the workplace.”