By: Dwain Celistan
In a recent survey of senior leaders, 90% indicated that they had not designated a leadership role specifically for diverse candidates. Yet the survey did indicate that there is significant interest in qualified, diverse candidates in leadership ranks. In fact, for outside hires, the respondents were very interested in seeing a diverse slate of candidates. Half of the respondents want to see diverse candidates on every slate, while 70% expected to see qualified diverse candidates on most candidate slates.
This and other findings were indentified in a survey conducted by Gundersen Partners among 220 senior leaders across industries. Most respondents were line leaders in general management (51%), followed by marketing (35%). Additionally, 81% of the respondents had the title of Vice President and above.
Interestingly, despite the desire to see diversity candidates in an interview situation, less than 20% of respondents choose search firms because of their emphasis on diversity. It is unlikely that a search firm without a focus on diversity will invest the incremental time and effort required to identify and present those candidates on a consistent basis.
Importantly, diversity goes beyond gender, as there was stronger appeal when diversity was not defined by gender or ethnicity. While there is an interest in diverse leaders, the absolute level of interest was surprisingly modest given the diversity of the consumer base and the globalization of most businesses.
Very Appealing Appealing
Provide Quality Diverse Candidates
For Every Recruiting Assignment 27% 52%
– Women Candidates 15% 60%
– Ethnic Candidates 19% 49%
Marketplace experience over the last few decades has shown that many of the best performing organizations are comprised of diverse leaders. They bring out a richness of ideas and approaches that provide new and innovative means of solving problems and identifying opportunities. Thus it is important for companies to add diversity to their slate of candidates and, subsequently, their leaders.
Net, this survey suggests that while interviewing more diverse talent is of interest, the conduits to this talent are not consistently delivering. Observations for improvements are:
- Companies should actively consider retained search firms with some emphasis on diverse talent. There is a pool of qualified candidates, and, effort is required to identify and place them.
- Diverse leadership level candidates must develop relationships with a broad range of executive recruiters. This increased exposure should result in more opportunities.
The Gundersen Difference:
- Dwain Celistan and Robert Baker lead our diversity practice. Both have had the role of senior diverse leader with Fortune 100 companies. This experience provides an understanding and perspective of diverse issues and a strong network of talent.
- Gundersen Partners has placed a large percent of diverse leaders, with half of them having a title of Director or above.
- We provide the hiring manager an opportunity to select from a slate of candidates that can meet or exceed expectations. Within that slate, we strive to provide a diverse slate of candidates for each search.
Dwain Celistan is the Career Acceleration Coach and author of “5 Simple Steps to Achieving Your Dreams”. He is an executive recruiter and coach. Get more information at reinvent2achieve.com.