The market for engineering is the most competitive it has ever been, with the demand being higher than the supply. There is not just a lack of engineers applying for jobs but also a lack of diversity within the market, which has been and continues to be problematic. For this webinar, we were joined by Luke Davis and Faustine Ladeiro-Levent, who both work at Diversifying Ltd, a purpose-led careers platform, to discuss how to diversify your talent attraction and what the future of inclusive recruiting is.
Luke Davis: Co-Founder of Diversifying Ltd. He has been in recruitment since 2000, and his career has crossed a lot of different industry sectors and types of recruitment. He is also the chair of the Mental health charity, Matt Palmer Trust. He doesn’t see himself as a Diversity and Inclusion expert but as someone who has chosen to spend his career solving this critical problem.
Faustine Ladeiro-Levent: Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Diversifying Ltd. She has a background in languages, linguistics, and creative writing, translating into a career in Digital Marketing. She has been working in Recruitment Marketing for over three years and specialises in content and social media, with a passion for employer branding.
Diversifying Ltd: The Company
Diversifying Ltd were founded over two and a half years ago by Cynthia Davis, who came from a recruitment background like Luke. Cynthia found that as she became more senior, she was involved in conversations working at BT, and she felt she didn’t see enough people like herself in the room.
As an organisation, they are trying to be the change they wish to be.
Diversifying Ltd has up-and-coming advertisements on Sky and Channel 4 to perpetuate social change. They help companies tell their stories in a new way that engages talent they may not be connecting with now. They primarily are a job board that is more than that: they allow companies to showcase a commitment to inclusion and diversity for people to find jobs with employers who are serious about diversity and inclusion and showcase their careers to a diverse community.
Diversity in Engineering
There are currently problems within the market, especially with the massive talent shortage of vacancies than candidates, with a 20 year high! There is a shortage of skilled engineers who require specific skills and experience. There is also a considerable gender imbalance: While women compile 47% of the overall workforce (from a 2018 survey), only 12% of workers in engineering are female. Even though the gender pay gap has narrowed over the years, the pay difference in engineering is still stark- it is 19% higher for men!
What is a Diverse Candidate?
We tend to look at diversity through only one or two demographics, usually gender and race, above the visibility line. However, when you look at true diversity, any demographics, such as life experiences or socioeconomics, are hidden. When looking at diversity, wider groups need to be looked at to provide wider opportunities for everyone.
Another problem within the hiring process is that new roles are being created, but there isn’t a high consideration for the talent pool. Looking at the hiring process from the Diversity Recruiting Framework, if it’s a specialist or niche role, it sensible to look at it from a talent acquisition point of view, where people with the skillset are looked at. However, it is also sensible to look at what role employers can play when looking at the future of diversity within the hiring process.
How to Increase Diversity?
A lot of the practices companies have in recruiting are fundamentally flawed. Historically, recruiting has involved looking at the CV and what people have done and the companies they have worked at.
As opportunities come for those who have had the privileges to get them
But “as opportunities come for those who have had the privileges to get them”, one of the biggest challenges is that if people haven’t had the opportunity or the chance to get the experiences, then we are perpetuating the same problem.
Therefore, Diversifying Ltd advises organisations to adopt an approach that widens the gate whilst not lowering the bar.
Ways to overcome this are:
Remove years of experience on job adverts: If you’re still using this as a way to qualify skills level, Diversify Ltd would highly urge against this. The reason for this is there can be people who have years of experience but who may not be well at their job, compared to candidates who have little experience but who are overlooked.
Do not use “Must Haves”: You want to be open to hiring people who show how they can do something, rather than just a job title.
Be clear on what you measure: Try and stick to factors that apply to the job, rather than preferences or favouritism when looking at candidates’ applications, such as what University they went to or what language they use.
Avoid Desirable Skills: Even though they can be seen as bonuses, you are still hiring from the same homogenous group. If it is important enough, list it as a mandatory skill, but it shouldn’t be there if not.
The Past… The Present… The Future
From an employer brand perspective, many companies are moving towards a performative approach, whereby they add stock pictures onto their website to appear diverse. Still, a different story is painted when you look at their company culture or their hiring practices.
What companies need should be doing is showing commitment and an authentic desire to progress and change things. Candidates want to join companies trying to do things better and want to be part of the change where people are given voices.
People want to see progress, not perfection
Before, companies were in the mindset of strict tones of voice, degree education, limited diversity data and long lists of experiences required, whereby candidates were made to jump through hoops to be hired.
Our hiring processes should use friendlier language that isn’t as intimidating as before, which is more gender-neutral with warmer tones of voice. There are fewer essential experiences and desirable skills within most organisations, with degrees not required as often, even though many still appear.
Moving forward, to be genuinely inclusive, companies need to change their hiring processes. They need to use inclusive language, values-based rather than experience-based, role descriptions updated for each new role, be open-minded about evidence, and focus more on what success will look like.