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Getting greater diversity into HR

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As time progresses, we hear about the importance of diversity in the workplace more and more. After all, it’s this diversity in gender, race, sexuality and ability that encourages the free flow of creativity while reducing the risk of practices and ideas that have become stale and outdated.

The people who will be looking out for this diverse range of candidates are the ones who manage the recruitment process, the people who work in HR. However, as an industry itself, it seems strange that HR happens to be one of those most liable to a stereotypical workforce.

Recent years showed that there were significantly more female HR higher education students, which continued the reputation of the HR industry as being a 'feminine' one.

According to statistics from UCAS, women accepting HR higher education courses outnumbered males by almost three to one.

Speaking in an article in HR magazine, Ordnance Survey Manager Will Davies said: There’s a perception that HR is a profession for women, one that requires a softer set of skills that many men wouldn’t believe they possess nor would necessarily want to develop. Having entered the profession as an HR generalist, I know this perception couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The irony is that HR evolved from the male-dominated arena of industrial relations. They devised strategies, set objectives, measured success and concerned themselves with ‘personnel’ issues to make sure they had the right people in place to get the job done. I’m not sure that business needs are much different today, so it’s strange to think male entrants can’t see the value of taking a role in HR. I can’t think of a profession that offers greater opportunity to influence across a whole business on such a wide range of issues.

“At its heart, HR requires you to be inquisitive and analytical, a problem-solver and a pragmatist. If we put it like this perhaps more men would be attracted to our profession.”

So, it seems that the secret to encouraging more diversity in HR is the same as with any successful marketing campaign. Firstly, identify your audience – who are you reaching out to and where are they from? Are they HR graduates or people with life experience that makes them perfect for a role in HR (after all, qualifications can be gained on the job).

Once you’ve identified your audience, use words in your campaign which would attract that specific group of people, for instance, studies show that men are affected by different kinds of words and phrases to women.

Also, focus on the job satisfaction that can be gained from this type of career. A man and a woman may well be looking for different things. Change the way we talk about HR, make it appealing to our audience and then we might find ourselves half way towards solving the diversity gap and making positive steps forward.

At Wade Macdonald we relish diversity in our candidates. If you would like to find out more about a career in HR or finance, get in touch with us.


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