Research shows that diverse teams are more productive and capable of greater impact. Building such teams isn’t something that happens overnight though — it requires strategies for the messages, mediums, and methods you will use to reach candidates and efforts to tackle subconscious bias throughout the hiring process.
Sarah Grausz and Farah Mahesri, co-founders of Quantum Impact, join Devex to discuss the issues impacting diversity in hiring. Their nonprofit supports globally-focused organizations in building more diverse and inclusive teams and they recently published a report looking specifically at diversity in the international development sector.
As Grausz and Mahesri explain, our own subconscious biases can hinder diversity in our teams. “One of the biases we have is that when we see a person of color and or a woman in a C-suite role, our brains automatically assume that the C-suite is now diverse,” says Grausz. Nearly 50 percent of men think that women are well represented in leadership she adds, when in fact only 1 in 10 senior leaders is a woman, and the same thing goes for women of color.
And while many global development organizations address issues such as equality and inclusion in their missions, these values are not always reflected in the workforce. Quantum Impact’s study, which involved over 200 international development organizations, shows that 2 out of 3 organizations do not have leadership teams that are gender balanced, while women actually account for approximately 75 percent of entry-level jobs. Their research also revealed that half of all organizations in the sector have no leaders of color, proving that diversity is still very much an issue in the sector.
Gender disparity in the workplace can start with gender bias in job ads. The language you use and the criteria you include could be discouraging women from applying and tipping the scale in the favor of men. Before you write another job ad, read these tips for avoiding gender bias.
In this webinar, Grausz and Mahesri share ideas for building your organization's diversity and inclusion brand and rethinking your approach to writing job ads. Mahesri recommends using online tools such as Textio, which highlights gender-coded words and and offers alternative language to attract a more diverse pool of talent. Hiring managers and recruiters should also think carefully about the criteria they list in job descriptions she says, and consider whether something really is a requirement or just “nice to have.”
“Women and minority groups tend to apply to jobs only if they feel like they meet 100 percent of the qualifications listed,” explains Mahesri, “whereas men tend to respond to an advert or a job description if they feel like they meet 60 percent of the criteria and have that confidence that they’ll be able to learn the rest along the way.” While it is standard practice in recruitment to set the qualification bar high to discourage people who are not qualified, this tends to have the biggest impact on women and minority groups who, as a result, will not apply.