We’ve watched in horror over the recent weeks which have seen hate crimes and prejudice come dramatically to the surface.
The match was lit beneath the Black Lives Matter movement once again and across the world people have highlighted the systemic racism, that still exists in society.
Like many others, we hold our hands up to say we’re not sure exactly what the solution is and how we can contribute to force positive change.
We don’t know the answers.
Nor do we want to try and prescribe a set of rules for companies to follow.
It’s inaction that’s got us into this situation.
And it’s the responsibility of the majority, who are not the victims of bias and race crimes, to take action that will impact those in the minority, whose actions have been ignored for too long.
Systemic racism and bias exists in every industry.
And it would be wrong to assume that “the problem isn’t as bad as it was” in our industry or any other. Or that being mildly better is acceptable.
It’s been over 50 years since Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in protest at the medal ceremony to highlight the racism in the US at the time.
Fast forward 48 years and there’s shockingly been little real change.
In 2016 American Football Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to demonstrate against similar racial injustices.
And just like in 1968, these demonstrations were met with fury from much of the privileged portion of society. No more notably than from both the NFL and the President of the United States.
Only now after the unlawful killing of George Floyd and subsequent mass protests has the NFL admitted fault and expressed regret at the way they handled the political demonstrations started by Colin Kaepernick.
It took more than it should have done for an organisation capable of making an impact to wake up to the systemic changes that are needed.
The NFL finally released a statement this week pledging a commitment to its players in their efforts to address systemic racism and change.
In a similar vein, US Congress have made clear their intention to make their biggest intervention to policing, to address the systemic racial discrimination.
More people in positions of power and organisations that can influence, are making decisions to instigate the change society needs. It’s taken too long and too much demonstration but now is the time to take action.
First, we need to understand some of the statistics plaguing the industry:
– Applicants from from minority ethnic backgrounds have to send 80% more applications to get a positive response from an employer (source: Nuffield College, University of Oxford)
– Name, age and gender make up 60% of the decision whether to bring in a candidate for first stage interview (source: McKinsey)
– Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than white counterparts (source: TUC)
– White names receive 50% more requests for interviews than African-American names with exactly the same CVs (source: Bertrand and Mullainathan)
– Men and women both favour men over equally qualified women in hiring, compensation, performance and promotion (source: Koch)
– In unstructured interviews the decision to hire some one is made in the first four minutes (source: Barrick et al)
The recruitment industry’s in a unique position in the world: we can affect those statistics.
And with that comes a unique responsibility.
We can be change-makers.
We can be instrumental in building more diverse workforces and removing unconscious bias from hiring processes across every sector. We can help to make systemic changes, to create a fairer future.
– It means accepting unconscious bias and accepting that we as a community are often culpable without even realising it.
– It means tough decisions to do what’s right, over what’s commercially rewarding.
– It means calling out and confronting racism and prejudice wherever its encountered.
– It means leadership being accountable for the data that represents inclusivity and supporting your clients to do the same.
– It means educating staff and all stakeholders to understand privilege and bias.
– It means open conversations about racism and any subtle acts of discrimination.
– And it means committing to action that removes that bias and promotes inclusivity, without compromise.
It won’t be easy, it will force people outside of their comfort zones and it will add an additional challenge, as we emerge from one of the greatest periods of adversity our industry’s ever faced.
But as recent history shows, prejudice exists everywhere.
Whether you’re aware of it, and especially if you’re not.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to take action and force change.
For recruitment, it’s also not just about making changes in your own organisations, although that’s where you should start, it’s about helping drive change through your clients too.
We don’t know the exact path forward, but at Hunted we’re going to devote time and effort to figure out what we can do as a company.
At the very heart of our business is anonymous job search. It’s a crucial part of why we’re here.
To fight harder for equality through in the recruitment sector. But we know we need to do more.
1. Confront racism whenever it’s experienced and encourage and empower every person in the organisation to take action.
2. Make inclusion a strategic priority. Track data to ensure there are never unfair pay gaps.
3. Invest in education for our people to understand privilege and bias and develop skills to combat it.
4. Not make assumptions on behalf of those in a minority group, but show compassion for how they may be feeling and create a safe space for them to address any act of discrimination, no matter how subtle.
5. Commit to making product changes that ensures brands are more accountable for their actions and encourage businesses to be transparent with their own company’s inclusion and diversity efforts.
6. Promote the conversation through content to keep the challenges front of mind and provide advice from diverse sources to help inspire companies to make positive changes
7. Continue to develop products that force positive change in line with our anonymous profiles which remove unconscious bias from the hiring process.
8. Set goals for hiring and promoting diverse talent for all roles and be accountable for the data.
We hope that by simply sharing our thoughts and intentions, it may provide the inspiration or give the confidence for more businesses in our industry to make positive changes that could force systemic changes in the working world.
We’d love to hear from brands that are making changes to try and address the challenge ahead.
And we’d love to engage in the discussion wherever it exists to work with the rest of the industry to make progress.
Recruitment Consultant at Austin Fraser & Austin Vita
Consultant- Accounting & Finance at Ambition Australia
Senior Consultant - Private Equity at Fulton Garrick
Start your own business at The Independent Recruiter Hub