Nudges to Improve Diversity & Inclusion in your Graduate Programs

In a recent AAGE survey, 66% of employers cited diversity and inclusion as a key challenge that remains when recruiting graduates.

We all know that there is sadly no “silver bullet” to improve the diversity of graduate recruits however there are a small number of “nudges”, i.e. – small actions which when completed together may contribute to address the diversity challenges you may face with your graduate program.

Here are 10 “nudges” you may wish to consider for your graduate program:

1. Language

Words matter. And the words we use in graduate job descriptions can impact the diversity outcomes of the campaign. Research suggests that the inclusion of certain words in a job description which are regarded as being more masculine could deter females from applying for the position, and vice versa.

Augmented writing software such as Textio indicates that words such as ‘relentless, ‘competitive’ and ‘strong’ appeal more to males, whereas words such as ‘encouraging’, ‘partnering with’ and ‘transparency’ appeal more to females. How gender neutral in the language in your job descriptions?

2. Diversity & Inclusion Statements

Do your job advertisements include a diversity and inclusion statement? This should be visible to candidates, making it easy to identify that your organisation has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

3. Profiling

Profiling current graduates in your business is a popular attraction piece, however too often we are seeing profiles from the same types of candidates in stereotypical roles; males at an engineering firm or females in a HR rotation. Student’s researching your program should be able to see profiles from a range of different candidates of different genders, backgrounds, disciplines etc. After all, you can’t be what you can’t see.

4. Appeal to Non-Traditional Degrees

Through opening your eligible degree pool, particularly to disciplines with higher female enrolment, you are; (a) setting yourself up to recruit a diverse pool of talent and (b) have access to more potential female recruits.

The Commonwealth Bank’s recent graduate campaign is a great example of how a candidate’s degree does not necessarily have to align to the industry. The 2018 theme of an “unlikely match” demonstrates to candidates that the business is seeking well-rounded students and will not turn them away if they studied the ‘wrong’ degree.

5. Provide more information in job descriptions

Studies indicate that women will only apply for a role when they meet 100% of the qualifications, whereas men will apply even if they only meet 60% of the requirements. Employers shouldn’t list unnecessary requirements in their adverts or “nice to haves”.

6. Go Directly to the Source

If you want to recruit more diverse candidates, then why not go straight to the source, for example, relevant university societies. Many have a strong membership base and would not doubt welcome the opportunity to create strong ties with employers.

7. GradConnection Diversity Buttons

Many employers utilise GradConnection as an advertising channel. Are you effectively utilising the diversity buttons that are included in your package and sharing relevant content? Students can search for companies and roles based on the quality of this populated information.

8. Statistics and Targets

Has your organisation made any outward commitments to addressing the diversity challenges you may be facing? We recommend that you clearly state these commitments on your careers page as well as any actions your organisation may be taking to address these challenges. This could include initiatives such as inclusive recruitment policies and female development initiatives.

9. Presence on Campus

If you are targeting female students at a university event, there should be at least 1 female representative from your organisation who can speak to their experiences. This is particularly important when targeting a specific gender in a non-traditional discipline, such as female STEM students.

10. Early Engagement

Students are starting their job search sooner, with over 70% starting their job search during or prior to their penultimate year. Through offering formal internship programs, you are increasing the likelihood of accessing diverse, top-talent ahead of your competitors.