Most support DEI, but don't know how to implement it. Read our report on diversity, equity & inclusion in the workplace

Your DEI recruitment strategy: What are your action items?

This is the seventh in a series of excerpts from our survey report titled All roads lead to diversity, equity & inclusion in the workplace. But which one do you take?, which was published in January 2021. Nearly 800 business and HR professionals filled out the 30-question survey, resulting in numerous compelling insights both for business and recruitment interests.

dei recruitment strategy

A core component of increasing diversity within a company starts with your DEI recruitment strategy. After all, your company is comprised of the people you hire. The potential for implicit bias in hiring teams when screening and evaluating candidates is also a factor. So, we wanted to understand the initiatives related to improving DEI in recruiting and hiring specifically.

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This is one excerpt from a comprehensive study on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at work based on nearly 800 responses to our survey.

Check out our full survey report

In this chapter, we address the following questions:

Do you have a DEI recruitment strategy?

Across the board, 56.1% say yes, they do have initiatives related to DEI in recruiting and hiring, while an additional 23.9% say they didn’t have initiatives yet, but plan on it.

Does your company have initiatives related to improving DEI in recruiting and hiring, specifically_

When breaking down the numbers by industry, we found that 28.7% of those in IT / Technology / SaaS are more likely than average to not have hiring-specific DEI initiatives but plan on it, while those in HR / Recruiting (67.7%) and Consulting / Business Services (66.1%) are more likely than average to have a DEI recruitment strategy in place.

Does your company have initiatives related to improving DEI in recruiting and hiring, specifically_ (by industry) In

The numbers also differed starkly by company size and geographic area. Those in the 500-999 FTE (71.2%) and 5000+ FTE (62.5%) buckets stated that they have initiatives in place, while multinational companies are far less likely than overall to not have DEI initiatives in their hiring and recruiting (15.4% versus 20% overall).

Measurable data points

When asked about top measurable data points for measuring progress in their DEI recruitment strategy specifically, the top data points were all based on demographics, with demographics in final pool of candidates / actual hires (46.6%), demographics in existing workforce (43.8%) and demographics of applicants beyond compliance (43%) highlighted.

In recruiting and hiring specifically, what are the top measurable data points your company uses to measure progress towards DEI initiatives and goals_(1)

Demographics in hiring teams is further down the list at 24.8%, while feedback from employees (31.9%) and candidates (12.2%) is also not as highly rated.

Again, the numbers differ starkly by industry. Those in Accounting / Finance are more likely to look at demographics of applicants (56.7% compared with 43% overall), while those in Manufacturing are much less likely (30%) to prioritize that as a metric. Strikingly, those in Manufacturing (40%) highlighted demographics in hiring teams as much more of a priority than overall (24.8%) in a DEI recruitment strategy.

In recruiting and hiring specifically, what are the top measurable data points your company uses to measure progress towards DEI initiatives and goals_

Action items

When it came to identifying action items supporting DEI initiatives in recruiting and hiring and when those were implemented, benefits / perks / policies led the way in already-established items before 2020 with 66.8% of respondents checking that box. Training for hiring teams was a leader in action items planned for future (17.1%).

Popular action items supporting DEI initiatives in recruiting and hiring

“It’s [about] sourcing out of my network to ensure it’s diverse. We are a seed company and don’t have a HR team that can recruit.”

Leading the way in terms of “no plans for this item” are AI-driven shortlisting (56.6%), talent market segmentation (43.9), and blind evaluation (41.7%).

2020 saw a significant paradigm shift towards remote work as a result of COVID-19 as found in our New World of Work report published in August 2020, and that was evident in a very specific area: remote hiring. Perhaps concurrently, two out of five respondents (39.7%) in our DEI survey cite remote hiring to broaden their talent pool as an action item that had been introduced in 2020.

Promoting a DEI company culture (28.4%), training for hiring teams (24.8%), and diverse hiring teams (24.2%) are other popular action items introduced during the course of 2020.

However, when breaking those numbers down by industry, the numbers differ from the overall baseline. Those in Accounting / Finance are more likely to have already established action items in place before 2020 on average (55.1% vs. 43.3 overall), whereas those in IT / Technology / SaaS are more likely to have no plans for specific items on average (26.9% vs 23.3% overall).

Popular action items supporting DEI initiatives in recruiting and hiring (Accounting _ Finance)

Popular action items supporting DEI initiatives in recruiting and hiring (IT _ Technology _ SaaS)

 “I think putting a number on it, a percentage, or offering ‘perks’, is the wrong way to look at it. People should be treated equally yet completely differently at the same time. I believe people should be treated with respect and as equals and, as far as recruitment goes, the person best equipped for the job should be successful.”

Again, those in Manufacturing have very different priorities than others in their DEI recruitment strategy: 24.1% introduced blind evaluation in 2020 compared with 13.4% overall, and 27.6% plan to have more diverse job sites going forward compared with 13.9% overall. They are also much less likely than the overall to pick AI-driven shortlisting (34.5% vs. 56.6% overall) and talent market segmentation (36.7% vs. 43.9% overall) as non-action items.

Popular action items supporting DEI initiatives in recruiting and hiring (Manufacturing)

At the other end of the spectrum of non-action items, IT / Technology / SaaS are much more likely to have no plans for AI-driven shortlisting (67.2% vs. 56.6%) and affirmative action (43.2% vs. 32.6% overall).

We hope you find our survey results on DEI at work to be helpful to you both professionally and personally. Any thoughts or questions, please feel free to share them with us via Twitter, LinkedIn, or direct email (with “DEI report” in the subject heading). We want to hear from you!

Check out the other excerpts from our survey report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:

1. DEI at work: It’s time to take a deep dive
2. What does DEI mean for you and your business?
3. Is there meaningful progress in DEI? Depends on who you ask
4. DEI leadership – and who’s actually doing the work?
5. Your DEI strategic plan: The road is fraught with hurdles
6. What are your top DEI initiatives for the workplace?
8. Time for a DEI action plan: We’ll help you get there

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