Turning the dial on diversity

October 05 2020

Turning the Dial on Diversity

Latest figures show that women now hold a third of FTSE350 board positions for the first time. The Telegraph reported last month that the representation of females has increased, with only one board with 100% male representation remaining. However, 41% of companies have not yet reached the target of 33% female representation as set by the Hampton-Alexander Review in 2016. Gender representation on boards may be only one aspect of diversity but it demonstrates both the successes and shortcomings of many a diversity strategy.

We know that despite incremental progress, many companies are still failing to achieve their workforce diversity goals. Although the business case for diversity is well evidenced, a lack of data and insight means companies are not tapping into all available talent pools – nor in many cases even understanding them.

This means that companies can become unnecessarily hung up on targets or bring all their focus to just one aspect of diversity. It also means that a company might be successful in recruiting diverse talent in some areas (usually early careers) but that diversity becomes less evident as seniority increases. These are all common situations amongst our clients who want to know what else they can do to turn the dial on diversity.

Talent supply and demand should inform your diversity strategy

It’s our view at Talent Intuition that in order to establish a successful diversity strategy, we need access to data about talent supply and demand. By data, I mean big external data that allows us to map skills globally, big data that combines talent supply and demand with diversity data to enable us to think beyond targets, and to find and understand more diverse sources of talent.

A current lack of data insight means companies are creating a strategy but failing to access diverse skills pools that would enable them to deliver on it. No leadership team would set a financial target without the data to inform the decision, so why do so for diversity? Using external data on the diversity of the skills needed to run a successful business helps you to understand where and how to change the make-up of your organisation.

Join the dots on diversity

To get the whole picture, companies need at least these eight pieces of data to inform realistic, challenging but achievable diversity goals:

  1. Breakdown of the supply of the skills needed. The number of people with the skills needed in a location, broken down by age, gender, ethnicity or other characteristics so an internal vs external benchmark can be created across functions.
  2. Online sources of profiles for the skills needed so talent acquisition teams can focus sourcing and engagement efforts to actively turn the dial in functions where the external population shows that increased diversity can be achieved.
  3. Total population diversity data. The breakdown of the total external population by ethnicity, religion, gender or other characteristics to give an understanding of the broader picture and to enable you to identify where you will need to grow your own.
  4. Diversity regulatory environment. For example, the level of support for people from minority groups such as those with disabilities to ensure an inclusive environment can be provided or an understanding of policy around gender equality.
  5. Competition for the same talent. Data on which companies have the most people with the skills you need so that talent acquisition teams have a target list for attraction and hiring.
  6. The industries that employ the most people with the skills needed, so hiring managers can see aligned verticals from other sectors for acquisition purposes.
  7. In an ideal scenario, which companies have a more diverse workforce and executive team.
  8. In a borderless talent market, scarce skills will congregate in places that are attractive to talent so understanding data points such cost of living, quality of life, commuting time are all factors to feed in.

If companies don’t look through all these lenses to make decisions, they’re are not seeing the big picture or joining the dots between internal and external diversity data. Leaders in their markets are using technology to give them global visibility on the supply and demand for skills and overlaying this with diversity data.

This helps them to see where the untapped pools of talent are and to benchmark this against their internal populations. Understanding the diversity of talent, both in terms of location and skill, means leaders can make strategic resourcing decisions and know where the diversity dial can be turned quickly, and where a longer-term strategy is needed.

Stratigens revolutionises decision making by bringing the facts you need to make decisions to your fingertips. Stratigens gives visibility of the total skills supply chain and its make up, so companies can use current data to inform their diversity targets and strategies.

Let’s imagine a global technology business has a goal to increase diversity across their business. Across their workforce, the majority of employees are software engineers, developers and data scientists. They have 15 offices globally including San Francisco, London, and Dublin. They want to set informed diversity targets and use Stratigens to do so:

We can see from the screengrab below that the population of female software engineering talent in these locations is not higher than 12.5% in any of their existing locations. Setting a target higher than this in these locations would require a long-term approach:

And the population of software engineers in all locations is predominantly white – so driving ethnicity in this skills population is going to require reskilling:

And the wider population is not ethnically diverse in the following locations.

Stratigens can make recommendations- for this skills population Basingstoke and Baltimore could well be areas to focus hiring and location decisions to build a diverse talent population:

So it is possible to inform a target, to use big data to drive decision making and to genuinely take effective action. To find out more, to see a demo of Stratigens or to talk to an expert, visit the Stratigens website here.

If you’re interested in knowing more, please join us for our virtual breakfast panel in October where turning the dial on diversity is the topic our expert panel will be discussing. You can register here and submit questions for our panellists. We hope to see you for a lively discussion on 14th October at 08.30.