Using tech to improve diversity in recruitment

Article by Bukola Adisa, CEO at Career Masterclass

Technology has positively changed the face of human activities and interaction.

The world of work has been greatly impacted by tech driven changes which provide data-driven insights and scalable solutions that can challenge our thinking, influence processes and ultimately, change behaviours, according to the World Economic Forum.  Used in the right way, tech can help companies facilitate their inclusion and diversity agenda, and remove barriers to entry for many Black and ethnically diverse professionals.

Research supports this notion and found that applicants with Asian or African-sounding names, for example, have to send twice as many job applications as those with English names to get an interview. In addition to this, women were less likely to be invited to interview than men. This is clearly penalising many talented individuals and is exacerbating the current social mobility problem for ethnically diverse professionals. Tech can play a huge role in mitigating this trend.

Software can facilitate a blind recruitment process and remove any markers that can engender bias e.g. gender, name, school, University etc. It can also create access to back-end data which can be used to analyse applicant pools and query drop off points. Recruiting platforms can be configured to focus on skills and suitability of roles instead of other data points such as previous organisations which can feed into bias.

In addition to this, the general use of tech in the whole recruitment process can widen the pool of applicants to help drive diversity and inclusion in the workplace. For example, hosting remote job fairs and allowing flexible working can widen the demographic of candidates for a role as it opens up the talent pool beyond a company’s head office location.

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Tech can also drive diversity during the interview process, not just at the application and filtering stage. For example, certain tools can help create an objective scoring model for interview panels, where scores are based purely on soft and hard skills rather than experience and the interviewer’s subjective feedback.

It is vital that recruitment becomes more and more objective, to allow diversity and inclusion strategies succeed right from the talent attraction phase. Tech can play a huge part in eliminating unconscious bias during all stages of recruitment, from the advertisement of roles through to filtering applications and down to the interview stage.

However, companies need to ensure that creating a level playing field for professionals is a priority, and then, finding the technology to support this objective will not be difficult. When the goal becomes to start looking at what someone can do, not where they are from, diversity and inclusion within companies will take a new turn and move beyond performative actions.

About the author

Bukola AdisaBukola is the founder/CEO of Career Masterclass which is a platform dedicated to enabling the progression of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) professionals in the workplace. Through webinars, live events and the annual STRETCH conference, Bukola teaches practical career tips to a varied BAME audience which has resulted in tangible career progress for the participants.

She is also a Senior Governance, Risk and Controls expert who has held leadership roles in global financial services organisations such as Barclays, HSBC, RBS, JP Morgan and Deloitte, in a variety of roles spanning Audit, Compliance, Financial crime, Risk & controls.

She was listed in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 PowerList, the 2017 Empower Financial Times List, and the Financial Times HERoes list of executives who have made a substantial difference to women’s careers.v