08 Dec Employers Must Embrace EDI To Hire Young Talent
With seventeen million millennials in Britain, this group makes up 35% of the workforce.
So what are you doing to make sure they’re looking at you?
One of the biggest questions a recruiter must answer is ‘how do we draw top talent in?’. The obvious answers to this are having an employee-centred work culture, and having clear paths for progression, but if you’re checking these boxes and are still missing out on young candidates, it’s time to take a look at your equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy.
Millennials are the generation of ‘Snowflakes’ and ‘Social Justice Warriors’ – and although these terms were created to be an insult, labels like these demonstrate so clearly the defining characteristics of this generation: their unwillingness to tolerate what they deem to be morally unacceptable. Discrimination and prejudice will get you ‘cancelled’, ignorance is not an acceptable excuse, and silence on an issue can sometimes be as loud as shouting from the rooftops. This is extremely evident having witnessed the events of the last few years – like the #MeToo and BLM movements – and the social media posting that went with them. For these young people, if you’re not fighting for the cause then you’re part of the problem.
This is what recruiters need to remember. A business that doesn’t demonstrate its fight for equality, diversity, and inclusion will be deemed not doing enough. Young people are not interested in working for companies that do not align with their social and moral values. (Tweet this) To no surprise, it is very important for these people to work with like-minded people. They want to work in an environment where they align with the culture. According to The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020, the younger generation are more concerned with equality, diversity, and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and human life generally than with profits – this has only become more prevalent since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Another reason that equality, diversity, and inclusion is so important for young people is that they are likely to be at the starting point of their career. They are hungry for knowledge and want to learn more and more, and gain as much experience as they can. Working for a company that promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion means that young people are more likely to hear from a lot of different voices and get training and advice from a lot of different perspectives. (Tweet this) Hearing from all sides of the table means more perspectives on any issue, and a much more rounded education. Hearing about problems or opinions that they may not have known about or considered before will also give them the tools to be more understanding of other groups’ situations, and so they have the tools to bring about more change as they progress in their career. This is another hugely important factor for millennials, as revealed by Deloitte’s survey.
Even aside from their moral convictions, many young people would still favour companies that worked towards being more inclusive, diverse, and equal for more selfish reasons. This is because they are more likely to benefit from the opportunities provided here. If a company is open minded and tolerant, then a young person is more likely to be heard, have more opportunities for progression and promotion, and more opportunity to see role models that look like and represent them. This is extremely valuable to ambitious and talented young people.
After all, why would any young woman want to work somewhere where they knew that they wouldn’t be valued or heard, and had little to no chance of progressing far. Or imagine you are a man with a young family; why would you want to work somewhere that did not offer adequate paternity/parental leave, or expected you to work long hours in the office? The answer is you wouldn’t. EDI-friendly policies benefit everyone, and are more attractive than their less progressive counterparts. (Tweet this)
The next question might be, how do we show young potential job applicants that align with these values that we’re committed to the cause? And the answer is more simple than you think. If you’re truly doing the work then they will see this. If a young person reading a job application can see that you’re trying to counteract unconscious bias, this is a signal to them that equality, diversity, and inclusion is important to your company. Seeing a diverse range of ‘higher ups’ (think partners / senior management) also signals this.
Websites like Glassdoor and Fairy God Boss give employees and ex employees a platform to discuss what it’s like working for your company and will often address equality, diversity, and inclusion here. Apart from this, you can advertise your commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion on your websites and any other platforms you use to get in touch with candidates.
But beware – false advertisement, like holding events once a year for pride month or world women’s day, will not cut it. It might even do more damage than good if it’s seen as ‘Rainbow-washing’, or tokenism. (Tweet this) As much as someone will do their research before coming to work at your company to see if you are EDI-friendly, they will quickly find out if this is surficial only. With the help of open forums, and social media, it is very easy for anyone to research companies to see if they are truly as diverse and open as they claim they are – or if they’re just doing it for the look.
Recruiters and leaders should strive to make their workplace as diverse and inclusive as possible to attract young people who want to work somewhere that aligns with their values. They want and expect a good education and the chance to work in an environment to thrive, and they will seek out these corporations – and can tell the ones who are really committed to the cause.
Aoibhinn is a 23 year old, recent graduate from Trinity College Dublin. She is a social activist and hopes to pursue a career in diversity consulting. Her motivations to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion stem from her drive to see progress in the representation of women and minorities in leadership roles in society and organisations.