AGCAS is working with the Institute for Student Employers (ISE) to explore and promote best practice in student and graduate recruitment in relation to widening participation and supporting social mobility, and to showcase examples of effective partnerships between HE providers and employers.

ISE data confirms that employers want to increase the diversity of their workforce.

“Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and for ethnicity and race are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns”

McKinsey, 2015

Current hires are not representative of the population. Those who have attended state schools, women, first generation graduates and disabled people are the most under-represented groups.

Employer best practice – from ISE Chief Executive, Stephen Isherwood
  • Increase the range of universities you target
  • Add social mobility questions to your application process
  • Stop using A-level grades - more robust testing methods exist
  • Consider using a contextualised data system
  • Remove school and university names - it’s proven to remove bias
  • Track what happens to your diverse candidates through selection
  • Give your new hires a buddy or a mentor – making an offer isn’t enough
  • Keep track of how all your candidates’ careers progress
  • Use your diverse hires as ambassadors back on campus
  • Make a long-term commitment to creating a diverse workforce

The ISE is working on the development of:

  • Searchable case studies on effective employer practices
  • A document or framework that enables employers to question areas they need to addres
  • Action lists divided by role eg. business leaders / hiring managers / marketeers / L&D teams
  • ‘How-to’ tools based on subjects such as data collection, attraction do-don’ts etc
What is workplace diversity and why is it beneficial to your business?

While UK legislation – covering age, disability, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation among others – sets minimum standards, more and more businesses have been looking at their diversity and inclusion strategies following the changes made to the Equality Act and the release of various reports such as the McGregor Review and gender pay gap data.

These reports and subsequent changes have highlighted the importance of an effective diversity and inclusion strategy that goes beyond legal compliance and seeks to add value to an organisation, enhancing performance, and contributing to employee well-being and engagement.

Workplace diversity is understanding, accepting and valuing differences between people, including those;

  • of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations
  • with differences in education, personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases

Having a diverse workforce can give your business a selection of different talents, skills, and experiences, which may be of benefit to your organisation and its performance. Organisations with a diverse range of employees are better placed to understand the needs of a wide range of customers, which can also help to increase your client base and profits.  Having a focus on diversity helps to increase engagement during the recruitment process and increases the chance of your organisation recruiting the best talent for your roles.

Types of workplace diversity
  • Gender
  • LGBTQ+
  • Ethnicity
  • Socio-economic background
  • Disability
  • Age

Widening Participation and Diversity Glossary 

Questions to consider when thinking about Diversity and Inclusion in your business?
  • How important is diversity to your organisation and what value does it bring?
  • How diverse do you feel the organisation currently is?
  • Is there a focus on diversity in your industry?
  • Which areas of diversity do you feel are already well-represented?
  • Which areas of diversity do you feel are underrepresented?
  • What is your priority objective and area(s) of diversity?
  • When engaging with universities do you work with them based on location, skills/degrees, reputation, student diversity and other
  • Do you understand the difference between universities from different ‘mission groups’ such as Russell Group, 1994 Group and other non-aligned universities?
  • Does your organisation have minimum entry requirements? A Levels, degree attainment
  • How often do you review your recruitment process?
  • Have all hiring managers undergone training e.g. recruitment training/unconscious bias?
  • Do you conduct blind recruitment? If no, why and do you know what blind recruitment is?
  • Are you part of a supply chain and if so are there opportunities to work with larger companies to develop a diversity strategy and/or improve your recruitment for Social mobility and diversity