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Time to get serious about diversity and inclusive recruitment
Time to get serious about diversity and inclusive recruitment
Research & Data 22nd Jan 2019

It’s a challenging time for recruitment right now. Record low unemployment levels, rising vacancies and skills shortages – and that’s without even mentioning the ‘B’ word. Employers and recruiters alike must find ways to use all the talent that this country has to offer, or risk being left behind. It’s time for everyone to really get serious about diversity and inclusion.

We’ve all seen the evidence that more diverse organisations and teams outperform less diverse ones. And yet the gender pay gap figures make for grim reading – over 80% of large employers have more women in their lowest-paid positions than their highest-paid positions. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that if the UK’s gender pay gap were closed, it could add another £150 billion to GDP by 2025. That simply cannot be ignored any longer.

How do we start to make diverse and inclusive recruitment the norm? Our latest report Increasing opportunity, supporting growth: The role of good recruitment in gender diversity recommends actions for both in-house and agency recruiting professionals, including:

  • Actively offer flexible working to all applicants for as many roles as possible

We know that currently women are more likely to work part-time or take time off because of family responsibilities. Normalising flexible working and encouraging its use by both men and women should help to redress the balance.

  • Advertise roles to a large and diverse talent pool using a wide range of platforms

JobsOutlook shows that employers’ most common method of recruitment is still through former employees and word of mouth. Widening the range of platforms used to advertise jobs and using methods which specifically target under-represented groups will help attract more diverse candidates.

  • Train hiring staff to deal with unconscious bias

Hiring in your own image can be a real problem, especially when someone is unaware of how likely they are to do this. Our survey found that only six in ten employers train their hiring managers to deal with unconscious biases in interview situations. Recruiters should educate their clients on the importance of this training.

Significant progress has been made in the past few years, but there is still some way to go – and gender diversity is not the only issue. Disabled people and older workers must be considered, and the government is already consulting on ethnicity pay gap reporting. Recruiters and HR professionals have a leading role to play in driving this change, and the REC will be there to support you along the way.

We have been partnering with the Women and Work APPG, which will be publishing their report ‘How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century’ next week, and holding an event in Parliament. If you are interested in attending, please email

Find out more about the REC’s research at

Josh Prentice
Josh Prentice - Communications & Research Officer

Josh joined the organisation in August 2018 and splits his time between the press office and research, working on the monthly JobsOutlook and Report on Jobs publications and a variety of other topics, as well as managing the REC Press Twitter account.

View More articles by Josh Prentice >

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