Within the recruitment stage there are plenty of opportunities for individual bias and systematic bias to influence outcomes for women and ethnic minorities. According to ACAS, ‘Unconscious bias occurs when people favour others who look like them and/or share their values. For example a person may be drawn to someone with a similar educational background, from the same area, or who is the same colour or ethnicity as them’ (ACAS Advice and Guidance). This favouring is common during the recruitment process.
Often during recruitment, individuals and organisations look for a good 'cultural fit’ meaning someone who they assume will easily assimilate into the culture, ways of working and values of the team. The problem with hiring for 'fit' is that decisions are based on a subjective assessment rather than on the candidate’s ability to deliver in the role. From a diversity and inclusion perspective, this isn’t effective as it often means that new hires are more likely to look, think and act alike.
Organisations in the offshore wind sector who are looking to build more diverse teams should begin thinking about the 'culture add' that having more diverse and female employees can bring. Looking for 'culture add' in recruitment and selection has many benefits. It allows organisations to bring in new people who have different backgrounds and perspectives. Diverse teams can solve problems faster than teams of similar people (Harvard Business Review, 2017) and research shows that when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time (Cloverpop, 2017).
Use specialist recruitment organisations
Ensure internships and work experience are fair and open for all (e.g. only offer paid internships)
Be mindful of how the recruitment process is viewed by candidates (seek feedback and analyse to identify barriers to remove or areas to improve)
Provide meaningful feedback to candidates and analyse feedback given for trends
Introduce structured interviews
Require diverse shortlists. For women: aim for balanced shortlists
De-bias selection criteria & reduce criteria to 3 – 5 points
Ensure diverse interview panels
BIAS IN RECRUITMENT
There is plenty of research showing gender bias in selection and recruitment. A good way to find out what is happening is by comparing male/female success rates at each step of the recruitment process.
A well-known statistic is that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of the requirements. Interestingly though, this is not due to lack of confidence, but due to women’s experience with their chances of success.
Another example of bias in the selection process is the common trend that men are often hired on potential, whereas women are often hired on proven experience.
British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send, on average, 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts (Nuffield College's Centre for Social Investigation, 2019).
Sponsoring Female Talent through Apprenticeship Programmes
" [Our new] diversity of the recruitment panel gave a fresh perspective and ensured candidates could see themselves represented in the company...The result was the most diverse and gender-balanced group of apprentices to date..."
The Road to Diversity and Inclusion
" All our [recruiting] managers have access to inclusive leadership material, helping them to recognise potential bias in recruitment. We ensure that at each stage of our recruitment process we provide equal opportunity to all candidates regardless of their background..."