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Improving Diversity is the top challenge for employers

Last week we attended the Institute of Student Employers (formerly AGR) annual research launch. Hugely insightful results were shared by Samuel Gordon while Charlie Ball provided some wider labour market context including busting some commonly held myths such as ‘all graduate jobs are in London’ and ‘everyone has a degree nowadays’.
One area of the research we were particularly interested in was that this year’s top challenge for recruiters is ‘improving diversity’. Our ears pricked up even further when the data was shared to break this down. There is still an issue with gender diversity: 54.4% of students are female but only 42.9% of last year’s hires were female.
The research also looked at first generation graduates which is one of the metrics used when measuring social mobility. While 49.5% of the student population are first generation, they only made up 31.6% of hires. Even more interesting was that just 10% of employers responding to the survey provided information in this area suggesting that this metric is not tracked by many organisations.

While it is possible employers are using a different metric such as whether applicants received free school meals or their parents’ professions, Samuel Gordon raised an interesting point. Without social mobility being consistently measured, how can we know whether first generation graduates are not getting through recruitment processes or whether they are self-selecting out and not even applying to these employers?

Here at White Label, we’re going to delve deeper in to this. I was previously Head of Careers & Employability at a university with a widening participation mission. My experience tells me that there is a large pool of students and graduates choosing not to apply to certain employers due to pre-conceived ideas about what it will be like to work there. Simply put, they do not think that they have a chance of being hired or that the culture will suit them. With the right insight, employers will be able to see what messages they may need to change and what action they may need to take in order to receive more applications from these valuable candidates.

Look out for the results of our research….

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