Diversity is a global problem for all types of businesses. How can adopting a more analytical approach to hiring help to boost diversity across the board?
Headlines concerning diversity make for depressing reading. STEM organisations in particular are frequently making the news, and no wonder – Silicon Valley employees are just 2.6% African American, and just 11% are Hispanic or Latino. The situation becomes even more bleak when breaking down these statistics further; only 25% of computing jobs are held by women. Of these women, 3% are black, and 1% are Latina. According to a study on why people left jobs in the tech industry, unfair treatment of women and people of colour costs the industry over US$16 billion a year. That’s a hefty toll for failing to be inclusive.
Of course, the tech industry is only one example of a failure in diversity. Almost every sector faces the same issue, and following UK government’s gender pay gap reporting legislation and calls for ethnic pay gap reporting, pressure is mounting for other countries to do the same.
Why diversity matters
Aside from the moral arguments for having a diverse workforce, there are a significant number of benefits to fostering an inclusive business environment. Business performance is the most obvious: studies show that companies with better gender diversity perform better financially. Similar studies proved that gender diversity in leadership roles also has a huge impact on businesses – employees of companies with at least 30% female leadership rated work environment, values, direction, coordination, and control far higher than employees in companies with a less diverse leadership team. In fact, worse than simply performing lower in these feedbck surveys, these employees also complained about work motivation, capability, accountability, and innovation.
If poorer financial performance, lacklustre employee motivation, higher staff turnover and a declining employer brand aren’t enough reasons to convince companies to prioritise diversity, we don’t know what would be.
Approaching an analytical solution to diversity
Unconscious bias has proven to be a major problem in efforts to improve inclusion. Unconscious bias can heavily influence hiring decisions as well as the hiring process, but since people are unaware of their assumptions or biases, how can companies train them to think differently?
The short answer is that they probably can’t. A study of the science industry confirmed many peoples’ worst fears by submitting identical applications, apart from the name of the applicant. It proved that when compared to female names, applications with male names were viewed as better qualified, offered higher starting salaries and were preferred candidates. Unconscious bias has also been shown to negatively impact minorities themselves due to fear of failure. Biases are influenced by an infinite number of factors throughout peoples’ lives, and businesses can’t reasonably hope to impact beliefs that their employees may not even know they hold. However, technology offers hope.
Providing all candidates with the same starting block is the first step in improving diversity. Once recruiters and hiring managers have agreed the job requirements in a transparent and standardised way, candidates should then be measured against their alignment with these requirements based on skills and fit alone. Data can be gathered at each stage of the hiring process in order to assess where minority candidates may leave the process, and the biases of individual hiring managers and recruiters will be traceable, and therefore actionable. What’s more, companies will have easily accessible data on the diversity of their candidates as well as their employees.
Having one central people analytics platform presents a cohesive solution to improving inclusion and diversity. To learn more about Talenytics could help to improve your company’s diversity goals, contact us for a free demo.
Content Marketing Specialist
Gianna is a copywriter with degrees in English and Marketing. She is passionate about the ever-evolving world of technology, and uses her skills to research the latest industry trends and insights.