Majority of candidates would reject job offer if employer didn’t support diversity, research finds

Experts say this demand reflects broader societal step change, with Gen Z, millennial and Gen X candidates all eager to learn about a company’s I&D efforts

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Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of employees would reject a job offer if it came from an organisation with a culture that didn't support diversity, new data has found.

According to findings in Monster’s global Future of Work report, 86 per cent of employees consider inclusion and diversity (I&D) critically important, with 45 per cent of employers believing that better diversity helps retain existing talent and attract new employees. 

In fact, two in five (40 per cent) businesses are now using I&D to guide recruitment processes and organisational strategy as candidates increasingly demand to know more about an employer’s plans to become more diverse (40 per cent of candidates) and expect transparency around workforce diversity (70 per cent of candidates).

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Claire Barnes, chief human capital officer at Monster, said this demand for diversity, and subsequent change in how it is perceived, reflects a broader societal step change.

“The world of recruitment, like the rest of society, has faced a reckoning in recent years with diversity, equity and inclusion pushed to the fore. But diversity isn't what you say, it's about what you do [and it] benefits the company, the workforce and the communities we operate in.” 

Paul Farrer, CEO of inclusivity-focused recruitment firm Aspire, added that, in the context of a difficult hiring landscape, a focus on I&D is paramount: “In such a competitive jobs market, whether or not an employer has an I&D policy in place and is taking positive action in this area could prove to be the difference between a candidate accepting or rejecting a job offer.” 

Despite now being central to more organisational conversations, in Monster’s report only 8 per cent of employers said I&D initiatives were in the top three changes they were making to attract new employees – though this finding is caveated by a comment that this could be down to employers feeling like they already have robust diversity processes in place.

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However, Paul Britton, managing director of law firm Britton & Time, said employers must still work to ensure diversity moves past the recruitment, branding and conversational stages to become a constant two-way process that forms part of all internal and external activity.

He added: “Organisations need to ensure that the diversity and inclusion policies and processes that encourage and promote diversity and inclusion are put into practice. They cannot simply be a selling point of the company to potential employees, suppliers or customers. 

“The approach needs to be taken in all areas to avoid being considered token or gesture diversity.”

With the report also finding that 87 per cent of businesses are still struggling to hire, Joseph Williams, founder and CEO at recruiter Clu, said being more diverse in recruitment processes could open up businesses to more talent, better innovation and growth.

“The conversation around diversity has often been anchored to the rhetoric of ‘the right thing to do’/” he said. “This charitable lens has finally been lifted to reveal significant talent exists in our communities that was simply excluded from opportunity. 

“Hiring from diverse communities should always have been about the invaluable skills available within them.”

In apparent efforts to showcase their diversity credentials and activities to potential hires, Monster found that three in 10 recruiters were increasing their outreach to organisations with diverse talent pipelines.

Additionally, 21 per cent of employers were working to get certification to showcase diversity work at their organisation, while 32 per cent were working on publicising their diversity schemes and creating better branding around this.

Increasingly, this is what Gen Z, millennial and Gen X candidates want: 47 per cent of Gen Z recruiters told Monster that more candidates than ever expect to learn about a company's I&D efforts.

However, as Williams added, these efforts can’t be overstated: “Diverse communities quickly see past awards, pledges and cupcakes. They look for actions with accountability as this harbours trust.

“The best possible way organisations can build trust with external candidates is to just be honest about where they are today and how they intend to get to where they want to be.”