For Carmichael Fisher, we believe it is critical that we attract and employ talented individuals from a wide cross-section of society in order to best serve our clients. Successfully attracting and recruiting talented leaders can be a very complex process. But we believe that the issue of diversity and inclusion should be one of the objectives at the forefront for all business leaders.
As a firm where more than 50% of our own employees are women, and with over 10 nationalities represented, diversity is one of our unique selling points. It’s also something we believe is a key contributing factor to our own success. For us it’s not just about the numbers. Our clients demand multilingual capabilities and local cultural sensitivities. So being diverse is critical to our ability to make decisions and to deliver the results that our clients expect. However, it is still clear that far too many organisations treat diversity as a target to be achieved and once done, it is forgotten or relegated to the background.
Many organisations tell us that the key to sustaining a competitive advantage is by recruiting and retaining the “right” people from a diverse talent pool. But we also know that employers are simultaneously facing skilled staff shortages in many sectors and functions, which only serves to further heighten the lack of diversity.
Today’s ambitious high flyers want to work in organisations that think and act in a diverse manner. That is why it pays to invest in sound search and recruitment practices that take diverse candidates into account. Diversity in recruitment isn’t just about widening the search pool. It’s also about creating the mindset that allows your organisation the best possible chance of finding the right candidate.
Providing everyone with an equal chance to progress within the world of work has a positive impact on social mobility and improves quality of life. When employers are more representative of the societal mix, it actively contributes to a better society. A more diverse workforce has also been proven to increase organisational performance by providing fresh ideas and innovation.
As business leaders we have a critical role to play in providing equal opportunities to a diverse population from both a moral and commercial stand point. Business needs to decide whether it is enough to reach a “quota”, or whether it should be a natural part of recruitment and organisational objectives. Ultimately, the decision rest with us leaders as diversity becomes more and more critical to business operations. There will always be employers who will refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. Thankfully, they are the ones that will be left behind.
Most progressive organisations embrace the notion of diversity and that is a key reason as to how they develop into and sustain a market leadership position. As sectors and consumer needs continue to evolve, we need a more diverse and innovative workforce to deal with those challenges. As leaders we must set the vision, policy, and direction through demonstrated actions. I believe we’ve come a long way, but there’s also still a long way to go.
Justin Hobday is the Managing Director at Carmichael Fisher EMEA, a leading executive search firm focused on senior level recruitment across various industry sectors.