In today’s hypercompetitive labor market, prioritizing diversity and inclusion (D&I) is critical to winning the war for talent. New research finds that more than half of job seekers (51%) would exclude a company from their search if its values and stance on D&I don’t match their own beliefs.

The many benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce – such as enhanced creativity, increased productivity and improved employee engagement – also impact a company’s bottom line. According to McKinsey, corporations that embrace gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability, and 27% more likely to outperform their peers on longer-term value creation. In a separate report, McKinsey researchers found that companies that rank high for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

Below are a few actionable steps to help organizations improve recruitment strategies to attract top talent and remain competitive.

Begin from Within

For most organizations, everything from corporate culture and leadership reviews to employee salaries is now available online. This means that savvy job seekers can now quickly distinguish between organizations that say diversity is a priority from those that put words in action. And with 75% of job seekers considering an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, D&I must be an organization-wide priority.

The first step is to assess where the organization is in terms of diversity and what needs to change to improve retention. Next, organizations should examine current recruitment strategies. Internal questions to consider: Do interview teams mirror the talent we’re looking to attract? When reviewing candidates, do we screen for privilege or potential? Is our employee referral program a benefit or part of the problem? Starting from within and reviewing processes before executing recruitment strategies will help improve outcomes.

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Keep it Neutral

For organizations competing for workers, understanding how to write a compelling, inclusive job description is vital. Unfortunately, most organizations miss the mark and often use language that inadvertently excludes candidates from underrepresented groups.

So, what makes an attractive job description? According to a recent report, gender-neutral language performs best against key hiring metrics such as cost per application, apply rates and number of applications per job. Additional barriers to inclusivity to modify, if possible, include:

  • Location: Can the job be performed remotely?
  • Education: Is a college degree necessary?
  • Requirements: Are these based on internal bias?

Cast a Wide Net

When prioritizing diversity and inclusion, hiring organizations often focus exclusively on D&I-specific job boards. While these sites are effective, research shows that by advertising jobs across various traditional sites, hiring organizations can reach a more diverse audience. Therefore, organizations should consider casting a wide net to attract diverse candidates, particularly when the goal is racial, ethnic and gender diversity.


Diversity and inclusion is not a new issue; however, in the wake of recent tragedies and subsequent heightened awareness around social injustice, it is now more important than ever to attract and retain top talent. Following the steps above can help organizations improve D&I recruitment strategies and become stronger, more innovative businesses.

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