June 17, 2024

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Why FTSE Diversity Targets aren’t working – and what we need to do to fix it

Setting diversity targets for FTSE groups hasn’t worked because they don’t address the actual barrier to equality: the bias in hiring processes. That’s according to talent crowdfunding platform, AnyGood?

Excuses from FTSE groups for the current lack of diversity have been described as ‘pitiful‘, with companies saying things like “Women aren’t a good fit in boardrooms, most of them don’t want the hassle of a big job and they don’t understand the complex issues discussed in board meetings.”   It’s hardly surprising attacks followed, but many within the recruitment industry believe the issue cannot be tackled merely by targets within changing the recruitment process.

Commenting on recent attacks on FTSE groups,  Juliet Eccleston, Co-Founder of AnyGood? said that the problem stemmed not from a lack of diversity at the top, but from a lack of diversity across the company in many cases:

“The fact that there is such a lack of diversity at board level isn’t just a result of narrow-minded corporate cultures or embedded stereotypes, it’s also a recruitment issue. In many of these companies, the lack of equality is prevalent across the company as a whole, so it’s no wonder there’s a lack of diversity at the top!”

Juliet believes the problem stems from age-old hiring biases that businesses are failing to address.  She says that while technology has advanced the way in which we work, the hiring process has remained static – resulting in the same talent being hired every time.  She explains:

 When we look at how businesses have evolved in the last decade, we’ve come on leaps and bounds, with technology changing the way we work exponentially. However, how we hire has barely made it past infancy – in fact you could argue that the methods used have hardly changed since recruitment emerged as an industry after WW2.”

Juliet says that the heart of the issue is a lack of diversity in the hiring process – and this needs to be changed if the issue is to be tackled:

“There’s too little diversity in hiring processes in general. This can, of course, be demonstrated by the fact that it isn’t just a lack of women at this level, but an overall absence of representatives from the whole range of demographics beyond white males. Enforcing diversity targets at the top simply won’t resolve this issue if the talent isn’t being brought in from the bottom.

“What we need is a complete overhaul of recruitment as we know it – then maybe we’ll stop ‘discussing’ this issue and start seeing results.”