Diverse hiring makes good business sense

Posted 19 August 2019

According to Engineers Australia, Australia faces enormous challenges as it transitions from a resources based economy to one that is diverse, innovative and technologically based.

The skills required to create and find work in this new economy will be significantly STEM based, and according to the Department of Jobs and Small Business, STEM related occupations are growing significantly faster than other occupations.

However, we are still seeing a low number of children selecting STEM subjects throughout their education. Australia’s National Science Statement indicated that participation in STEM subjects in Australian schools has been declining, with enrolments in these subjects at the lowest level in 20 years.

The STEM talent gap and low unemployment rate have made it tougher than ever for businesses to recruit the skilled talent they need. The “war for talent" is on and skilled workers are in demand.

When it comes to attracting and retaining employees in a competitive world, it's important to understand the role that increasing diversity plays in becoming an employer of choice.

Read the Engineers Australia article

For tech companies, building more inclusive workplaces is not a luxury

It's no secret that the tech sector has a diversity problem.

According to the Australian Government Office of the Chief Scientist, based on data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, the total STEM workforce in Australia totals 2.3 million with only 16% of those being female.

What may surprise you is the impact that the lack of diverse hiring practices is having on many companies.

Tech giants like Google and YouTube have faced lawsuits because of their hiring practices.

A lack of diversity can make a company unattractive to potential employees. For example, research found that 47% of millennials want to work at diverse companies. Yet, according to research conducted by Bloomberg, "all-male teams make about 38% of the decisions in a typical large company, and the gap is even worse among less diverse firms like those in Silicon Valley's technology industry."

As you can see, there are very real consequences to bias in the workplace.

You'll have more sales revenue

A McKinsey study from 2015 examined data for 366 public companies across a range of industries in a variety of countries. It found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

You'll attract and retain better applicants

Glassdoor research found that 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers. Most high-quality candidates will research whether a company has diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies in place as they decide whether to accept a position. Candidates also investigate the diversity of the company's leadership team when deciding whether to accept a job.

Read the Glassdoor diversity article

You'll connect with your customers

A diverse team can help you develop new ideas and products your customers can relate to. Almost half (49%) of employers surveyed for LinkedIn's Global Recruiting Trends 2018 said that they focus on diversity to better represent their customers.

Read Global Recruiting Trends 2018 (.pdf)

You'll solve problems faster

Research published in Harvard Business Review found that cognitively diverse teams solve problems faster than teams comprised of people who are cognitively similar. The researchers noted that, “people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out. When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform."

Read the full Harvard Business Review article
There are many business and community benefits from developing a diverse workforce in your organisation.In a time when technology is rapidly changing the global landscape, it is imperative for businesses to be innovative, think outside of the box and grow alongside the technology enhancements.Contact us
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