Australian businesses hiring from diverse talent pool but doubt impact of DEI programs

New independent research by specialised talent solutions provider Robert Half finds companies’ efforts to attract and recruit from a diverse talent pool are proving more successful than internal efforts to sustain diversity within the organisation - highlighting the complex challenges businesses face in order to build a truly diverse workforce, from a junior hire to tenured leadership.

  • 49% of Australian employers think they are already working with a diverse talent pool, 46% state their dominant applicant profile is well-balanced with more diverse candidates, while 5% believe their roles attract a single dominant applicant profile.
  • Filling newly created roles and refilling vacant or reinstated roles have increased diversity within Australian organisations, according to 45% and 44% respectively.
  • 42% believe that corporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs have increased their company’s diversity, 41% believe it has had no impact while 16% believe it has even decreased their organisation’s diversity.

Sydney, 19 October 2021 – New independent research by specialised talent solutions provider Robert Half finds companies’ efforts to attract and recruit from a diverse talent pool are proving more successful than internal efforts to sustain diversity within the organisation - highlighting the complex challenges businesses face in order to build a truly diverse workforce, from a junior hire to tenured leadership.

The impact of cultural perceptions on hiring agendas and diversity

Despite a significant rise in unemployment levels in 2020, economic recovery is bringing new growth opportunities for businesses – leading to companies reinstating roles and increasing staff headcount.

According to the Robert Half research, when making a hiring decision almost half (49%) of employers think they are already working with a diverse talent pool. A similar proportion (46%) state their dominant applicant profile is well-balanced with diverse candidates while just 5% think their roles only attract a single dominant applicant profile.

When broken down by industry, Australian CIOs are more confident that their available talent pool allows them to grow their team’s diversity than their CFO counterparts – just 1% of CIOs feel their roles attract a similar applicant profile compared to 9% of CFOs.

 

 

Total

CFO

CIO

Yes, I am mostly working with a diverse candidate pool

49%

44%

58%

Sometimes. There is a balance between a dominant applicant profile and more diverse candidates

46%

47%

41%

No, many of the roles attract a similar type of applicant

5%

9%

1%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs.

How diversity has been impacted during COVID-19

With workforce restructuring comes the opportunity for employers to redress imbalances within their talent pool and practise their commitment to diversity by improving representation across their workforces with more proactive hiring plans. In fact, the creation of new roles and refilling vacant or reinstated roles has given businesses the opportunity to increase the diversity in their organisation, according to 45% and 44% of Australian employers respectively.

Corporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs

There is more to successfully building diverse and inclusive workforces than hiring practices alone – it also requires companies to embrace diversity and inclusion in promotion, development, leadership, and team management. However, the Robert Half research reveals that the existing DEI programs have not had the intended effect for all Australian organisations.

While more than four-in-ten (42%) Australian employers agree that corporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs have increased their company’s diversity, a similar proportion of 41% say they have had no impact on their diversity levels. Almost one-in-five (16%) believe they may even have had an adverse effect, questioning the effectiveness of either the development or implementation of some DEI programs.      

“Our survey results show that proactive hiring efforts can be a game-changer for achieving greater diversity among the workforce, and with significant growth opportunities on the horizon, many businesses are finding themselves at this pivotal moment. However, having the opportunity to hire for newly created roles or re-hiring for vacant roles won’t achieve diversity by itself. Businesses must ensure they support their hiring efforts with a culture of inclusivity that values diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” said Robert Half Director Nicole Gorton in announcing Robert Half’s latest survey results.

“With the majority of Australian business leaders believing their DEI programs have had either no impact or a negative one, we see that diversity remains a deeply ingrained and complex structural issue that positive sentiment and intent alone cannot solve.”

“To make diversity and inclusion part of the fabric of corporate culture and hiring practices, there are a few key steps businesses should take. Firstly, diversity and inclusion efforts are not a ‘set and forget’ project – effective programs require an always-on approach to refining and improving efforts in dialogue with employees and external consultants, which are measured against evolving goals. Culturally, employers should lead by example to ensure the mindset of diversity and inclusion cascades down the organisation. Promoting diverse employees, seeking out diverse voices in decision making, eradicating potential biases, creating a culture of safety when it comes to expressing viewpoints, and communicating the shared benefits of diversity and inclusion are all essential building blocks for successful diversity and inclusion.”

“When successful, the value of a diverse and inclusive workforce is two-fold. When all of a company’s staff – regardless of background – feel they can actively participate, contribute, and that their views are being heard, they are much more likely to be happier, more motivated, and more engaged with their work and employer on a deeper level. At the same time, the resulting improvement to staff retention and productivity gains can be a real boost to an organisation’s bottom line,” concludes, Nicole Gorton.       

MEDIA CONTACT

Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
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