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The importance of diversity has certainly been on an upward trajectory as the business case for a more diverse workforce becomes increasingly clear. Global management consulting firm, McKinsey, for example, has shared a wealth of research in recent years to showcase the positive impact diversity can have on revenue and productivity.

However, while there’s evidence to support the fact that a more inclusive culture will breed innovation and improve efficiency, there’s also been a growing recognition across employers that it is simply the right thing to do in today’s ethically-driven society. And organizations are looking for increasingly diverse recruitment services as a result.

For staffing companies who play a crucial role in representing multiple employer brands and sourcing diverse talent for other companies, Equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) has never been more important and, indeed, valuable for business success.

But for staffing firms the challenge is two-fold. Not only must they support the diversity targets of their clients, but recruitment businesses themselves also need to be diverse to reflect their client base and support attraction and retention strategies for their own talent.

Defining a Starting Position

The challenge for the recruitment profession, though, is that there is little in the way of statistics to identify how diverse it really is. There’s a wealth of statistics to highlight the equality gaps that exist across sectors, including STEM related specialisms, and even country-specific data which highlights where diversity could be improved at senior levels.

But for recruitment, this information isn’t widely available. As a result, it’s difficult to truly assess where steps may need to be taken to better attract and engage under-represented groups.

In order to close this information gap and understand the level of diversity in the sector, APSCo is collaborating with the REC to run two surveys – one for individuals working in recruitment and the other for staffing businesses. The information from this research will allow us to not only benchmark the demographics within the sector, but also identify the difference between the perception of leadership teams and staff members. We have had a good response to both surveys so far, but in order to develop the most accurate picture and support change that translates into the end-client community as well, we urge recruitment firms and their staff to get involved.

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Embracing Change

Developing this diversity benchmark is just the first step in a wider ED&I strategy for the profession and in order to tackle this challenge head on, we have launched APSCo Embrace, an all-encompassing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion campaign which includes a number of different strands to support recruitment firms with their own ED&I approaches:

  • APSCo Embrace ED&I Resources hub – a central resource for APSCo members which contains practical information and resources to help members hone their ED&I approach. These include best practice guidance and policies, specific resources relating to all the protected characteristics, support for leaders, research, inclusive comms and accessibility
  • APSCo Embrace events – a quarterly webinar program focused on ED&I issues, the first of which will look at how to get started with developing an authentic equality, diversity and inclusion strategy for a recruitment firm. APSCo is also launching a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum which will allow staff responsible for this area of member businesses to access expert content and share ideas.
  • APSCo Embrace Steering Committee – a panel of members and, thought leaders and experts who will look at new initiatives to help the recruitment sector lead the way in equality, diversity and inclusion.

Driving Positive Change in Recruitment

There’s no doubt that our sector has a huge part to play in helping change the culture within the broader employment market, and the first place to start is within our own profession. Those recruiters able to deliver diverse hiring solutions and demonstrate their own firm’s commitment to the DE&I agenda will be in the best possible place to drive their own business’s success in the long-term. APSCo Embrace will ensure staffing companies are armed with all the information and tools staffing companies need to lead this positive change.