#LTW panel: Is diversity in recruitment just a numbers game?
Diversity is an issue on everyone’s lips this London Tech Week, but how do we make diversity and inclusion in the workplace be about more than just box-ticking and numbers?
That was the topic of conversation on Monday 7 September as we were joined by expert panellists to discuss inclusive cultures beyond diversity quotas:
- Janine Chamberlin, Director of Enterprise Sales & Talent Solutions, Linkedin
- Stephanie Itimi, Founder & CEO, Seidea
- Simon Langley, Head of D&I, Royal London Group and ex National Grid
- Elizabeth Oni-Iyiola, EDI Lead & Director, Inclusive Boards, NED, Inclusive Graduates
- James Corcoran, Head of Permanent Recruitment, Sanderson & techUK Skills and Diversity Council Member (moderator)
The conversation covered a whole host of issues in recruitment from attracting diverse talent to onboarding, workforce integration and retention. The panellists emphasised the need not to ignore but embrace difference in organisational processes, highlighting the importance of using inclusive language throughout an organisation’s communications, documents and policies – whether they be internal or external – so that no-one feels left out, as well providing a fully accessible onboarding process that demonstrates a clear work culture and values to employees.
Role models and diverse representation throughout the recruitment process were raised as integral to dispelling myths and stereotypes, particularly in white-male dominated industries such as cybersecurity, and ensuring that diverse talent is able to see itself reflected in the organisations that are seeking to recruit them. The importance of role models was also recognised in the context of mentoring in onboarding, with success often found when employees from diverse backgrounds are supported by someone who is like them or can understand them.
Panellists drew attention to the importance of reaching out early and effectively in recruitment, filling gaps in career advice in schools and offering career routes through apprenticeships and internships, and broadening typical recruitment processes to more specialist or specific job boards such as techUK Returners Hub to reach wider and more diverse talent pools.
The discussion acknowledged that in tech there is an overarching sectoral challenge in recruiting talent, especially diverse talent, and emphasised the need for businesses and business bodies to work together to drive diversity and inclusion. techUK continues to take forward this valuable work alongside industry to bring about effective change in this space.