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Early Talent

Talent Attraction

Employee Experience

Why diversity in graduate recruitment matters

4 mins  |  04.06.2024

Having diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the core of your organisation is more than just statistics – it boosts your organisation's output and productivity. Companies with strong DEI are actually 39% more likely to outperform those with less diversity. 

HESA has identified that the current student population is more diverse than ever before. That means that a focus on early talent will come with great strides in your company’s diversity. But DEI is not just important to employers – 88% of students consider an employer’s commitment to diversity and inclusion before they apply. 69% of millennials and Gen Z’ers are more likely to stay over five years at a company that has a diverse workforce. This all goes to show how diversity needs to be at the centre of your recruitment strategy. 

But the path to an inclusive workplace isn't without its challenges. Unconscious biases, outdated hiring practices, and a competitive candidate-driven market can all present as roadblocks. But by nailing four key elements of the equation will set you up for DEI success: brand, attraction, recruitment, and development.

Brand: Showing your commitment

Your organisation’s brand is crucial – it’s your identity. It’s important to demonstrate your commitment to DEI through authentic messaging around your culture. Show that you foster and value an inclusive working environment. Potential candidates, especially those from underrepresented groups, are drawn to organisations whose brand reflects diversity and inclusivity.

If your future talent can resonate and see themselves working at your organisation – your brand is hitting the right notes.

Attraction: Finding the right people

Nailing your branding is only one piece of the puzzle. Now you’ve got to get in front of the right eyes through your attraction methods, before converting them into applicants. Your attraction methods are key in re-emphasising your commitment to DEI as an organisation. By actively promoting diversity in your attraction strategies, you not only broaden your pool of early talent, but also establish a reputation as an inclusive workplace.

Recruitment: Assessing the lay of your land

Your recruitment process serves as the gateway for bringing in a diverse early talent cohort into your organisation. Start by auditing your recruitment process and ensure that DEI is running through as a golden thread. This could start with gender decoding your job descriptions, unconscious bias training, and stress-testing all assessments looking to identify any adverse impacts. 

Tracking diversity data throughout the recruitment process, and identifying trends and changes throughout allows you to measure inclusivity in your process. Transparency with your candidates throughout the recruitment process sets you up with the foundations to deliver a best-in-class recruitment process.

Development: The retain game

Right. Now you’ve got the diverse cohort of your dreams. But, what about retaining them? This is why a development programme, specific to early talent, is crucial. Over 90% of organisations are worried about retention. Providing learning opportunities is the number one way to improve this. Through offering a structured learning and development programme for your early careers cohort, you’re allowing them to thrive and excel in their roles. Investment in your people’s development fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty amongst employees. 

Nurturing your early talent cohort works twofold: you’ll enhance your retention rates but also create a culture of inclusivity and equity. However, it’s important that the expectations set through your branding and attraction methods become reality – your programme has to match early talent expectations or you run the risk of a disengaged cohort. If you retain them, you don’t have to replace them – saving you money in the long run. The value added to your organisation in terms of both culture and performance, will in turn boost your brand as your people advocate for you, and the cycle continues.  

DEI isn't just a box to check; it's a strategic imperative with far-reaching benefits. By focussing on diversifying with early talent, you will be positively impacting your diversity of tomorrow, today. 

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