Will Shepherd highlights the importance and benefits for an organisation of working towards early talent diversity

The Early Talent market is changing and becoming increasingly competitive. In 2017, the number of students planning to go to university fell to its lowest level in eight years, and the number of Apprentice vacancies rose. Companies are having to adapt and evolve to this changing marketplace where recruitment competition and demands are high.

When it comes to making changes, diversity and inclusion represents both a priority and a significant challenge for many businesses, and no more so than within early talent recruitment in the manufacturing industry. Diversity within an organisation is about encouraging a wholly-inclusive workforce – embracing employees of different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural beliefs.

Yet, Early Talent Diversity runs much deeper. It’s about making your application process available and accessible to all groups who embrace different perspectives and ideologies about how and why things work the way they do. It’s about bringing different ideas and opinions together within your organisation and allowing them to work cohesively towards common business goals.

Adding value through diversity
Part of the motivation for a company wanting to increase Early Talent Diversity comes in understanding how it truly adds value to the core business. There are a number of associated benefits to a diverse workforce, which many businesses are surprisingly unaware of, including the following;

  • Increased productivity, work rate & efficiency; in fact, 72 per cent of private sector companies said there was a direct link between diversity and productivity
  • Innovative thinking & culture; through alternative perspectives and ideas on the same issue or new product
  • Positive employer branding; once diversity begins to increase it becomes easier to attract a more diverse pool of candidates and even customers
  • Giving your business the competitive edge; diversity enhances the competitiveness of your business both within your workforce and as an organisation
  • Reduction in employee turnover; when compared to pre-diversity statistics
  • Increased employee morale & teamwork

Without a doubt, diversity is and should be an organisational priority. But as an employer, how can you implement recruitment strategies and initiatives to help you achieve your diversity goals?

Attracting Early Talent diversity
There is a huge pool of diverse talent in schools and colleges and these students need to be proactively engaged with in order to recruit a more diverse workplace at an entry-level. Talking to students early on and removing application barriers, will help to create an interest in careers that they may not have previously considered. Ultimately, they want to see ‘people like them’ on your website and see how well they have done in your organisation, showcasing stories of how diversity and inclusion is celebrated.

Engaging with new audiences results in a wider talent pool and is a step towards creating a more diverse workforce, as well as combatting the skills shortage currently facing many organisations within the manufacturing industry. This diverse range of employees will bring fresh-thinking and innovative ideas, which in turn could bring a new customer base.

If students have a great experience with an organisation at any stage, it increases the likelihood of employees returning later. For example, a successful work experience completion can lead to an apprentice application, and/or an application to work full time within the business.

Another option could be offering workplace taster days – this gives potential candidates an opportunity to learn and discover more about different aspects of an organisation or industry.

Crucially, companies can craft media content and public policy to combat industry stereotypes, this is particularly important within sectors where gender stereotyping is still in place. Content and photography that is open for potential candidates to see on an organisation’s website or within the career pages helps to encourage a more diverse workforce.

Ultimately, organisations want to reach out to the best candidates, regardless of gender, class or ethnicity and the recruitment process should be designed to discover and appeal to all. If there is a particular demographic that industry is struggling to reach, more appropriate measures should be put in place to extend this reach and engage with the right people. Given the wide-ranging benefits, it would seem crazy that a company wouldn’t invest resource and time into developing their Early Talent diversity.

Will Shepherd
Will Shepherd is CEO of Cohesion, a leading provider of outsourced recruitment services. For some clients it acts as their dedicated outsourced recruitment team, responsible for hiring the brightest and best talent across all areas of their business. For others it acts as an on-demand recruitment partner to HR and Operational teams and injects a burst of high impact expertise to deliver and support volume and project recruitment campaigns.