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Diversity – treading on eggshells: is recruitment going in the right direction?

Diversity – treading on eggshells: is recruitment going in the right direction?

Posted on 30th June 2021

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I have worked with Be-IT for many years now, conducting their varying research projects since 2015.  The 2017 survey of Sexism in IT was one of the most successful of these, yet as Nikola Kelly, Be-IT’s MD, indicated in her blog yesterday, the issues around sex, gender and equality, diversity and inclusion in general have grown arms and legs in recent years.  So much so in fact, that it’s a potentially risky undertaking to investigate what people who work in IT think about them.  The danger of offending someone with the wrong word or nuance is very high nowadays, so with the rider that if this year’s Be-IT research project offends you then I’m sorry, here is what we are going to be investigating over the next few months.

Firstly, we are going to do a brief follow-up to the  2017 sexism study and investigate the extent to which the attitudes uncovered then have changed.  This, the first part of this year’s survey, will reprise some of the questions asked in 2017 and we’ll see what, if anything, has altered.

Secondly, in the more controversial areas of gender, race etc. there are, in my opinion, two, inter-related areas worth exploring. I would like to find out the extent to which recruiters have adopted new approaches to recruitment that try to tackle perceived injustice, discrimination and bias by introducing (amongst other things): targets for diversity that are stated publicly, unconscious bias training, blind CV’s for applications, removal of all male/female pronouns, bespoke D&I webpages, etc. – and I’d also like them to tell us, honestly and anonymously, what their own views are.

On the other side of the recruitment equation, it will be interesting to see whether what appears to be HR’s enthusiasm for such things is reciprocated and, perhaps more interesting yet, whether any reciprocal enthusiasm varies by age/gender and even if it is as a result of peer pressure rather than genuine sentiment.

Finally, one area that is almost totally neglected in amongst the media coverage of gender et al is the increasingly important one of age. I say increasing importance because, although IT is mainly a young person’s industry, time’s winged chariot waits for no-one and as the industry ages it will be interesting to see whether the millennials are cast aside as Gen Z and its successors climb the career ladder or whether a more equitably balanced (one might say, truly diverse) age profile comes to be the norm in the tech sector.  

The survey link is below: please share this with your colleagues and friends working throughout the IT/recruitment industries.

Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to complete the survey.  I have no idea what the results will show, but they will be interesting.

Alastair Blair

Posted in Recruitment News, Research

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