Perspective of HR

Driving Diversity

David Docherty, CEO of the National Centre for Universities and Businesses (NCUB) and Chairman of Placer, explains to us why diverse hiring needs to be at the top of HR’s agenda going forward.

Why is there so much emphasis on diversity today?

A diverse workforce is a must-have for any organisation in 2017. Recent research shows companies with a diverse mix of employees are 35% more likely to innovate and outperform their competitors. It’s clear that recruiting people from a range of backgrounds brings in new perspectives and fresh ideas. So, what can employers do to ensure diversity is the golden thread that runs through their workforce?

With the introduction of the Equalities Act in 2010, companies must ensure they don’t discriminate – and more and more companies are putting in place proactive measures to recruit candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. However, to make real progress, the process of ensuring a diverse workforce needs to start sooner – right from work experience.

How can you implement a diverse structure from an apprentice-level perspective?

To ensure you’re attracting the top talent, having a formal work experience policy is vital. A more formal process, in which placements are advertised publicly, will benefit business through ensuring young people are recruited on merit, not on who they know. Doing so would level the playing field allowing businesses to then access talent that may otherwise have been overlooked.

What’s more, by offering formal work experience you can offer departments in your organisation that students may not necessarily have come across before or you struggle to recruit in. Many students are unaware of the options that are available to them with their degree – but work experience can demonstrate if their skills are applicable to your business.

How can you attract top talent?

Offering a day, week, month or even year can create a lasting relationship between you and that student, possibly translating into a permanent job at the end of their degree. And when you consider the cost of traditional graduate recruitment, this could be a fruitful way for organisations to save money and ensure they develop a pipeline of homegrown talent where both candidate and employer have a good understanding of the expectations.

In this age of technology, it’s easier than ever to ensure you reach talent from across the board. Platforms such as Placer – a new work experience app that directly connects businesses, students and universities – make it easy (and, in Placer’s case, free) to advertise opportunities and ensure that your organisation is reaching a wide and deep pool of talent.


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