Tracy Elizabeth Fletcher, managing director of Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment, discusses the need for companies to rethink their recruitment strategies to fully benefit from a diverse workforce…
Studies show that companies that rank in the top quartile for gender, racial and ethnic diversity amongst their senior management were more likely to have financial returns above those who fail to address diversity challenges.
A diverse workforce offers fresh viewpoint perspectives, innovation and commercial success. So why are not all companies ensuring that their recruitment strategies are focused on addressing this?
“We spend much of our time ensuring we have a fully diverse talent pool available for all our clients across all roles,” comments Tracy Elizabeth Fletcher, managing director of Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment.
“As part of our own commitment to the Woman in Finance Charter, we set a goal to supply over 30 per cent of our shortlisted candidates to our clients as female.”
This can prove challenging due to the lack of diversity in top roles, Fletcher explains.
“We know from speaking with female and BAME candidates that there’s a reluctance to push themselves forward for certain roles; we believe this perceived lack of belief comes from previous experiences,” she says.
“The facts are out there; unless a company makes a real statement about adapting a diverse recruitment strategy then nothing will change. There are areas within financial services where there is no female representation at all, such as business development roles. In order to address this, companies need to be prepared to recruit based on capability as opposed to experience.”
Recent reports highlight that the world’s major financial institutions and professional services firms have shown some particularly poor results in gender diversity in senior positions.
However, some companies, such as HSBC, have committed to increasing the proportion of women in senior positions to 30 per cent by the end of the year and have targeted a 50/50 graduate gender hiring split.
“It is unfortunately common and something we try to address with our customers; identifying unconscious bias is part of our own staff induction process by providing specific training towards diverse hiring, CV screening and advising on interview panel makeup,” Fletcher explains. “A recent report found that 58 per cent of female finance and banking professionals in the UK felt that their gender had proved a barrier in career progression, and only 25 per cent of these think salaries are equal.”
The Office for National Statistics recently reported that the mean gender pay gap in the banking and finance sectors has actually risen to 23.1 per cent from 22.2 per cent in the past two years, despite efforts to address this.
Driving change through positive recruitment
“Change has to come,” states Fletcher. “Companies will need to look at talent and potential as well as experience, otherwise the sector will go stale. We need new blood and fresh ideas regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion.”
Ultimately, companies want the best candidates who are truly qualified, and having a diverse recruitment programme should not hinder that in any way.
In fact, having a better, more diverse talent pool can improve a company’s access to a wider range of exceptional candidates.
Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment will be running a number of free online webinars during November, on creating a diverse recruitment strategy and understanding unconscious bias. For more information or to register for one of these events, please visit www.cfrecrtuitment.co.uk.