Minority Report: Companies Still Looking for Diversity

Some companies spend as much as 70 percent of their recruiting budgets courting minority candidates, says new survey.

In spite of the weak job market, companies are still spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to recruit and retain minority candidates with executive leadership potential. This, according to a study entitled Diversity Recruitment Report 2002 released today by San Francisco-based WetFeet Inc.

The 115-page Diversity Recruitment Report, based on interviews with more than two dozen black and Hispanic professionals and 14 diversity-recruitment directors, is light on statistics, says WetFeet management, because it’s intended as a qualitative study examining how minority executives go about finding jobs — and how companies hire them.

According to the report, many companies are bending over backwards to diversify their workforce. Some, including Deloitte Consulting, General Motors, and Pfizer, spend as much as 60-70 percent of their total recruiting budgets on attracting diverse candidates. Others even try to get candidates while they’re young, with programs that develop future candidates from high school.

But, as with recruitment of all candidates, explains WetFeet president Steve Pollock, hiring is only the beginning of the battle. “The commitment to recruiting can’t stop at the front door,” says, “it needs to continue with equal energy devoted to retention.”

So, according to the study, what are some tips to better attract and retain minority workers? For one, focus on opportunity by creating potential for professional development. Minority workers, like anyone else, place utmost emphasis on the opportunity itself, says WetFeet.

Also, show tangible evidence of the company’s commitment to diversity. No tangible evidence? At least demonstrate the company is serious about developing some. The report says candidates value a company’s intentions almost as much as its track record. Hint: you can’t fully demonstrate sincerity without understanding the business benefits of a diverse workforce. Wherever possible, generate support for diversity programs throughout the company.

We all may be created equal, but that doesn’t mean everyone thinks alike. Tailor diversity messages to individual candidates. Minority candidates have widely different expectations and preferences, says the report, based on personal career goals, chosen industry, and experience.

Strengthen retention efforts by implanting mentorship programs and networking groups are effective retention tools.

Do You Want to Make Tea for the BBC?

A new survey of 1050 workers in the U.K. by The Work Foundation and The Future Foundation says increasingly, both young job seekers and older workers value intangibles over pay and benefits.

Specifically, The Ethical Employee survey shows that companies could improve their chances of hiring and keeping talented staff if they were supportive of employees’ home needs and paid more attention to environmental and community concerns.

The research found that around 10 percent of respondents are “ethical enthusiasts” whose views on corporate social responsibility are strong enough that they’ll choose an employer based on them. Ethical enthusiasts are more likely to be young people (18-24) and older people (45 and over).

Another 10 percent believes employment policies say a lot about corporate citizenship: they want to work for companies with people-friendly programs such as flex-time and compassionate approaches to illness and family crises.

In addition, the survey found that a third of all employees surveyed claim they’ll be walking out the door within the next 12 months because they disapprove of their employers’ poor record of corporate social responsibility.

The survey also shows that, overall, companies that are rated as good corporate citizens are also nice to work for. Among the most popular employers: the BBC, British Airways, and Virgin. The worst to work for: Railtrack, McDonald’s, and Marlboro.

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