Human Capital & Strategy

3 Ways Data Helps Make Diverse Hiring Easier In 2021

The national dialog around recruitment, hiring, and employment in 2021 has become noisy and politicized. Here are three ways data can help firms cut through the chatter and meet key hiring goals.— By Joseph Warren

At the end of the day, smart firms want a talented, diverse pool of candidates available to provide a talented, diverse workforce. According to LinkedIn, 78% of talent leaders say diversity is the most important trend shaping the future of recruiting and hiring. Some 67% of jobseekers agree, according to Glassdoor. Unfortunately, despite everyone seemingly in agreement that diversity is business-critical, progress towards diversity goals seems to be stalled.

There is a way to break out of this “stuck” cycle. The answer is data, but perhaps not the stale spreadsheets and printouts of the pre-pandemic era. Here are three ways data can help talent-strapped companies and time-pressured recruitment teams make smarter choices and better connections so that diverse hiring can get easier (and faster) in the year ahead.

Get Real About Local Talent Pools
The first way data can help make diverse hiring easier is by allowing a hard reset on diversity goals. Thanks to dramatic relocations of talent that happened in the past year, talent pools are not the same as they were even 12 months ago. This can mean that goals set based on local talent pool composition may now be wildly unrealistic.

Realistic diversity goals and hiring efforts are made possible when the local data is brought into the discussion. Deeper analysis on feeder pools for managerial hires can help spot which pools flow through to upper management and which have become parking lots where talent goes to waste.
Data can open the door for more practical conversation based on present market conditions. For example, thanks to COVID-19, women’s participation in the workforce is now at 30-year lows. A goal of 50% female hiring is going to require greater effort to reach women who are voluntarily (and involuntarily) out of the market, and different bonuses may need to be paid to attract female candidates away from stable work situations that have sustained them through the last year. On the other hand, as coastal workers have migrated to Midwestern states and more rural communities, it may suddenly be possible to connect with AAPI and Black candidates that previously weren’t a part of the local scene. Gathering the newly released census data and reading trends in target geographies may help drive more productive and practical conversations with hiring managers about how and where diversity goals can be met right now.

Do Deeper Analysis On “Feeder Pools” For Managerial Talent
Another way data can help is by giving a second look at the “feeder pools” for managerial roles. Many companies have stated that they want to see more diversity in management, but have trouble growing that diversity from the frontline to the C-suite. A part of the problem lies with individual contributor roles where many talented candidates seem to “stall out” on their career journeys.

To no great surprise, these career “stall outs” bear stark racial and ethnic differences. Black women, for example, are more likely than white women to spend the bulk of their careers in individual contributor roles, never making the leap to management. Similarly, diverse men spend longer proving themselves in roles than white candidates.

By crunching the data on both who sits in individual contributor roles and how long they’ve been locked in that spot, recruitment teams can spot internal candidates who may be getting overlooked. This kind of data analysis also allows for very strategic sourcing, as research will allow teams to spot top talent in competing organizations who may be facing a stall-out scenarios and are therefore very open to hearing about new opportunities with fresh upward potential.

Make More Equitable, More Attractive Offers
A third way that data can help with diverse hiring is by allowing teams to make more equitable and attractive offers to potential new hires.

This is especially critical in today’s environment, when companies are making national headlines for the rates at which they’re boosting starting wages to attempt to fill empty roles. However, throwing money at candidates generally doesn’t work nearly as well as throwing specifically tailored offers into the mix.

Diverse candidates – and especially those with highly sought after skills – are well aware that men and women from diverse background make less at every level than white males. As a result, offers to these candidates can be made more attractive by using data in two ways.

First, data allows internal teams to restructure pay offers to be more equitable. Combined with existing best practices in diversity hiring like blinded resumes and ignoring salary history, this can ensure that offers made to diverse candidates are the same as what a non-diverse candidate would receive and thus, in many cases, be higher than offers they may be seeing from competitors.

Next, data around the offer as presented to the candidate can signal the values and commitment of the firm to fairness in hiring. By documenting how offers are created and showing transparency in wage levels between employees of different backgrounds, firms can show that they follow best practices, actively strive to eliminate pay bias, and consistently “walk the talk” on pay equity.

The Numbers Are The Ultimate Allies
In the midst of what can sometimes become very heated discussions about diversity goals and diversity hiring, recruitment teams and CHROs need allies. Right now, some of the best allies are the numbers, provided the data is used correctly.

Realistic diversity goals and hiring efforts are made possible when the local data is brought into the discussion. Deeper analysis on feeder pools for managerial hires can help spot which pools flow through to upper management and which have become parking lots where talent goes to waste. And, by taking a long, hard look at who is getting paid what across the organization, the data can help firms craft offers to potential new hires that are more attractive because they are more equitable and demonstrably so.

It’s not always simple, but teams under pressure to fill jobs – and fill them fast – need all the help available to ensure diverse hiring goals are met. A data-driven approach can help start conversations, change minds, and make a meaningful difference in hiring outcomes for 2021 and beyond.