What a ride it’s been in our ‘The Get Optimal View’ series, bringing you the minds of the advisors and the people who make Optimal tick. We’ve got lots of blogs still in us…and that’s because we’ve got lots of mates! Or believers, or whatever you want to call them.
Our previous blogs included The Great Return by Joe Slavin, How Optimal’s AI frees up time for the best bits of the job by Gary Elden, Torin Ellis on the DEIB journey employees want, Dave Rees on how Optimal’s solution Destroys Dyslexia, hallucinatory musings on HR Tech Vegas by William Tincup, how Ashlie Collins helps us with RQ and Janine Owen asking the big question - why should I even care about Diversity?
Our eighth thought pieces take on social mobility, with Pete Healey taking us through exactly how it intersects with talent attraction.
Social attitudes have evolved considerably in the past five years. The MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter illuminated the importance of gender, racial equity, and inclusion in society and organisations. At eFinancialCareers, the sector we support, financial services, has invested in diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) for many years. Thanks to a justifiably poor reputation in this area, financial services firms have been pushed to act. I noticed this difference when I moved from financial services to the generic tech recruiting space in 2016. With a bigger historical problem, finance has had to make bigger efforts to address the issue. Improvements have been made, but there’s still a long way to go.
The more that diversity is addressed, the more the issue's complexity becomes apparent. While most attention has been paid to gender and ethnicity, new dimensions like neurodiversity and the intersectionality from interacting disadvantages are being considered by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as it compiles rules on diversity for financial services companies.
One area that FCA emphasises is socioeconomic diversity. When I look at talent attraction and retention strategies, this is an area that I need to pay attention to. Only 10% of British people from working-class backgrounds attain high-status jobs. In the US, research from HBR found that workers from lower social classes were 32% less likely to become managers than those from higher classes. This discrepancy was significantly greater than gender at 27% or race at 25%.
In the UK, public spending cuts have worsened the situation for those from less privileged backgrounds. The impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis has compounded those spending cuts. There’s a lost generation of children without access to opportunity.
Understanding the problem requires an appreciation of its pervasiveness. It’s common to consider that inner-city young people face the most significant challenges, but access to opportunity for those in deprived rural areas or small towns is even less than for those in deprived inner-city areas.
Other than ‘it’s the right thing to do’, why should businesses care? Socio-economic equity and inclusion matter to society, so businesses will see the knock-on impacts, but there is a more direct opportunity. Research has shown managers from lower socio-economic groups have greater empathy; employees previously in the US military are less self-centred than their more privileged peers.
The intersectional nature of disadvantage means that addressing socioeconomic diversity will impact other areas, too: ethnic minorities are more likely to be socioeconomically deprived, as are candidates with a disability, for example.
How can your role models become involved in recruitment processes? Or once onboarded, what access are you giving to your interns, placement or work experience students to these individuals?
Other organisations worth looking at are :
The exciting thing is that whilst there are significant challenges in the area of social mobility, today, we have more tools at our disposal and far greater awareness than ever to help tackle it within the business. In attempting to address this topic within your own business, I am sure you will find a significant number of your team who will be passionate about helping you get things done to make a difference.
CEO: eFinancial Careers
Work with us at Optimal, and your response rate for open positions will soar by a minimum of 24%. Let our AI choose the most readable parts of your job ads to display, and you’ll save the precious time you would have spent combing through old or plagiarised job ads to ensure you’re conveying the correct image in the new world of attracting suitable and diverse candidates. No longer will applicants be put off by the vacancy or how it’s been advertised. Optimise once and post in multiple places - your new ad is in a downloadable, editable form to drop into whichever job board or multi-poster you like!
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