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Empowering the unseen: recruiting underrepresented talent as key move to bridging workforce skills gap



DEI is evolving beyond compliance and representation. The term "underrepresented" typically brings to mind discussions of diversity and inclusion. At its core, diverse recruitment is the practice of actively seeking out candidates from groups that have historically been marginalised in the workforce.


This includes people of color, women, individuals with disabilities, and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The goal is to create a workforce that truly reflects the diversity of the society in which it operates, acknowledging that every individual, regardless of their background, possesses a unique set of skills and perspectives that can contribute to the richness, growth and innovation of an organisation. 


Being inclusive in hiring strategies and processes is multifaceted, and requires a deliberate shift from traditional recruitment practices to more inclusive strategies. 


Here are some examples of how it can be achieved:


  • Skills-based hiring: transitioning to a skills-based approach in hiring allows for the recognition of capabilities beyond conventional qualifications. This model values resilience, critical thinking, and adaptability, as well as the diversity in learning paths of individuals. Because talent can be found in the most unexpected places.

  • Foster collaborations with educational institutions: building partnerships with universities and vocational schools can help you tap into a diverse talent pool early on. These collaborations can also influence curriculum development to ensure that it aligns with the evolving needs of the industry, preparing students from all backgrounds for future opportunities. Because students from all walks of life should be equipped for tomorrow's job market.

  • Implement inclusive job descriptions: craft job postings that are welcoming to all, using language that encourages individuals from underrepresented groups to apply. Highlighting an organisation's commitment to diversity and inclusion can also make a significant difference. The best recruitment plan starts and ends with employee retention, for both new and existing employees. 

  • Utilise blind recruitment practices: to minimise unconscious bias, employ blind recruitment strategies that focus on the qualifications and skills of candidates, rather than their personal identifiers. 

  • Create internship and mentorship programs: offering internships and mentorship to underrepresented groups provides valuable work experience and networking opportunities, paving the way for future employment. Tackle systemic issues head-on, whether through scholarship programs or paid internships.

Studies show that diverse and inclusive workplaces tend to have improved productivity, innovation, and profitability. The inclusion of underrepresented groups in the workforce is a strategic advantage. From an economic standpoint, the underrepresented workforce represents an untapped goldmine. Diverse recruitment enriches our workplaces and society with a wealth of perspectives, experiences, and talents. 


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