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Your January update from AMI Chief Executive Robert Sinclair

AMI Chief Executive Robert Sinclair gives his January update, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead…

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I’ve heard a firm say that equality and diversity isn’t an issue because they ‘hire the best people for the job’.  This narrow view doesn’t recognise that if a firm does not put equality and diversity at the heart of their recruitment process, they might not be reaching a wide range of talent in the first place.

Adverts are the starting point of whether someone decides to apply for a job or not.  Offering flexible working and promoting a range of flexible working practices will attract people from a more diverse pool.  According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), 76% of employers have reported flexible working as improving staff retention and staff motivation.

How a job is advertised should also be considered.  An EHRC inquiry found that FTSE 350 companies had failed to improve diversity at board level, which was attributed to the diversity of applicants being limited by virtually no open advertising of roles, instead relying on personal networks.  Job descriptions also relied on vague terms like ‘chemistry’ and ‘fit’ rather than clearly defined skills and experience, limiting the diversity of candidates and standing in the way of chances of appointment.

There are lots of ways firms can make sure they are reaching diverse talent.  Encourage applications from under-represented groups, such as through targeted advertising, and publicise roles through a wider range of channels.  Offer a guaranteed interview scheme which shows a commitment to those with disabilities.  Become a Stonewall Diversity Champion to show to candidates that your workplace is LGBT inclusive.  None of these actions mean not hiring the best person for the job.

Firms can use diversity monitoring forms to help them with recruitment.  If applications from those with the same background are being received, it is worth considering why.

Aileen Lees
Head of Policy

February 2019


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