Menopause in the Workplace: Creating a Supportive Environment for Women

Once a taboo topic, menopause in the workplace is having a moment. And it’s about time. Globally, 657 million women are in their menopausal years (aged 45–59) and around half contribute to the labour force. According to CIPD, three out of five (59%) working women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on them at work.  

With stereotypes and embarrassment persisting, some women try to push through the challenges on their own. But at an age when many women are stepping into leadership roles, employers must do more to support employees who are experiencing symptoms of the menopause in the workplace. 

What is the Menopause? 

Menopause signals a natural transition in a woman’s life, marking the end of menstruation and fertility. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 as hormone levels fluctuate and decline. While a normal part of ageing, menopause can usher in a variety of symptoms. Hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, memory lapses, mood swings—no two women experience it the same.  

How the Menopause Impacts Women at Work 

In the same CIPD report, nearly two-thirds (65%) of women said they were less able to concentrate. More than half (58%) experienced more stress, which led to less patience with clients and colleagues.  

Not only do menopause symptoms disrupt focus, but they can also impact morale and attendance. In fact, 30% of impacted women have taken sick leave because of their symptoms. However, only a quarter of them felt able to tell their manager the real reason for their absence with some citing embarrassment (34%) and concerns about privacy (45%). Even more concerning is that another 32% said an unsupportive manager was the reason for not disclosing. In some cases, women have even left their jobs due to these challenges.  

The decrease in engagement and loss of productivity shouldn’t be overlooked by employers. A report from the Mayo Clinic revealed the U.S. economy loses $26.6 billion (USD) each year due to lost productivity and health expenses resulting from employees who are managing symptoms of the menopause.   

With the right support, women can shine through menopause without missing a beat in their careers. Enlightened leaders can create a culture where women openly discuss their experiences and get the flexibility they need.  

How to Create a Supportive Environment for the Menopause in the Workplace 

HR leaders have real power to destigmatise the menopause and help women thrive. By treating this transition as you would any other employee wellbeing topic and regularly evaluating policies, you can set the tone for women in your organisation. Menopause isn’t just about managing symptoms. It’s about supporting employee growth. 

So, how can CHROs foster a supportive environment for menopausal staff? Here are some recommendations: 

1. Encourage open dialogue and self-advocacy. Make space for open, judgement-free conversations about the menopause and let women know assistance is available. Breaking the stigma through dialogue and education is key. 

2. Review policies through a menopause lens. Is time off sufficient? Are you penalising women unfairly? Consider putting a dedicated menopause policy in place. Ensure that work schedules, remote work options, and time off allowances give women managing the menopause the flexibility they need to manage their symptoms.  

3. Make accommodations. Give leeway on start times for sleep struggles. Allow remote work flexibility. Simple adjustments like cooling fans, access to cold water and relaxed dress codes can go a long way to help ease hot flashes. 

99% of women don’t get any menopause benefits at work 

4. Provide education. Make educational resources readily available including FAQs, support groups, webinars, workshops. Consider offering menopause-specific training for managers so they feel more comfortable initiating menopause discussions. Plus, ensure they understand your policies to ensure women are not penalised or sidelined in performance reviews and career advancement unfairly due to menopause difficulties. 

It’s time to move past minimising women’s symptoms or whispering about “the change.” Companies that support women experiencing the menopause in the workplace are better at holding on to experienced female talent and avoiding costly turnover. With the right policies and culture, women can feel empowered and valued during this transition. When women feel their company has their backs through this transition, that loyalty and trust lasts. They’ll repay it with their talent and dedication. 

The Power of Predictive Analytics in High-Volume Recruitment

By Amelia Krol, Business Analytics Lead

While navigating through high-volume recruitment processes, organisations often find themselves overwhelmed by the number of applications for a multitude of positions, ranging from entry-level roles to specialist positions. This can be a costly and time-consuming process that can damage the candidate experience and doesn’t guarantee candidate quality. This is where predictive analytics steps in, transforming the recruitment landscape.

Driven by advanced data analysis techniques and machine learning, predictive analytics offers a strategic advantage in managing high volumes of roles as well as ensuring the right fit.

How Does Predictive Analytics in Recruitment Work?

Predictive analytics involves the use of historical data, such as applicant resumes or CVs, interview feedback, performance data, and employee tenure to create models that predict future candidate success. Predictive analytics finds patterns and correlations within this data to identify characteristics that lead to successful hires. These indicators could include specific skills, educational background, work experience, and even personality traits that align with the company culture. This data-driven approach ensures a higher standard of candidate quality, as recruiters are guided towards individuals whose attributes align seamlessly with the organisation’s culture and role requirements.

Furthermore, this strategic deployment of predictive analytics doesn’t merely benefit the organisation; it elevates the candidate experience by matching applicants with roles that resonate with their skills and aspirations. As a result, candidates feel more engaged and valued throughout the recruitment journey, culminating in enhanced hiring outcomes and a positive brand reputation.

Predictive analytics presents itself not as a solution, but rather as a dynamic framework for continuous improvement. Organisations can leverage powerful analytics to determine fundamental employee attributes for specific roles, effectively managing the hurdles of volume hiring and retention. This involves harnessing predictive analytics insights to craft bespoke pathways that foster workforce growth. 

Predictive Analytics in Action

In late 2021, one of our hospitality clients, Merivale, faced the challenge of recruiting 800 roles within six weeks. Partnering with PeopleScout, they turned to Affinix™, our proprietary talent acquisition suite with includes Affinix Analytics. PeopleScout’s strategy involved deploying Affinix to swiftly source and categorise applicants based on role streams. To ensure quick turnarounds, a tech-powered approach was implemented, utilising video and phone interviews. Leveraging Affinix’s real-time analytics dashboards, candidate responses were screened using built-in AI-powered tools to dynamically filter them into qualified roles. Referrals from current staff were also encouraged through Affinix CRM tool. Despite the challenging talent market, PeopleScout achieved remarkable results a time-to-offer of just 3.36 days and a time-to-fill of 5.5 days. The collaboration’s success continues as they meet the client’s ongoing talent needs, emphasising the transformative role of Affinix’s analytics in the current market.

Several tools are employed for predictive analysis in recruitment, leveraging data-driven insights to enhance hiring decisions. Affinix seamlessly integrates AI, machine learning, digital interviewing and more. It’s a comprehensive solution for streamlining recruitment and enhancing candidate experience. Affinix encompasses various features, including AI Sourcing, which identifies passive candidates for each job posting. CRM optimisation and requisition management enable enhanced communication and talent pool creation based on skills and other factors. Moreover, Affinix Analytics provides job seeker analytics and operational metrics to understand the end-to-end recruitment process. The platform’s integration with HR technologies solidifies its holistic approach to talent management.

Making Informed Decisions about Predictive Analytics

Although promising, predictive analytics, and AI in general, can be perceived as being risky. The key concern is the potential of creating biased algorithms, which can limit diversity in the hiring process and create inequalities. Bias might be present in the historical data fed into the model, from which the algorithm learns. Additionally, the accuracy of predictive models could be compromised due to the constant changes in the recruitment industry as well as evolving organisational needs.

Moreover, the complexity of machine learning algorithms can decrease transparency in decision-making, which would make it challenging for candidates to understand the reasoning behind rejections. Furthermore, quantifying skills and abilities could be difficult for certain roles.

In 2018, a leading retailer released the results of hiring software that was developed internally. The AI scored female candidates lower than male candidates due to bias in the data used to train the model. The model was trained using the company’s historical hiring data, which mostly consisted of men. As a result, AI saw male candidates as preferable to female candidates.

Organisations considering using predictive analytics in recruitment should keep these issues in mind, particularly as they gather data that the models will use. If any bias is discovered by the predictive model, it’s an opportunity for you to introduce (or update) unconscious bias and diversity training to your hiring managers.

Changing the Recruitment Landscape with Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics in recruitment is a powerful force in changing the landscape, particularly in the context of high-volume hiring. The integration of historical data with cutting-edge HR technology optimises the recruitment process, enriches the caliber of selected candidates and ensures that talent acquisition supports the strategic objectives of the organisation. However, balancing the benefits and limitations of this approach is crucial for a responsible and effective application of predictive analytics in high-volume recruitment.  

Learn More About Affinix

Attracting Older Workers to Retail and Hospitality Jobs

According to a global study by Bain & Company, workers aged 55 and older make up over 25% of the workforce in G7 countries by 2031, making older workers one of the most in-demand talent pools for employers today. In the UK, the government launched a “returnership” initiative to inspire those over the age of 50 to come back to work or to seek a career change. This scheme involves three programs that help older workers retrain and learn new skills, providing workers with a clear roadmap back into the workplace and encouraging organisations to hire them. In Western Australia, the Job Reconnect program provides grants to both employers and employees to cover costs related to licences, upskilling, and even work clothing, transport and childcare.

It’s crucial for retail and hospitality employers to know how to entice older workers back to work and to make the most of their valuable talent. Known as the ‘sandwich generation’—defined by caring for their elderly parents and also dependent children or grandchildren—older works have a strong work ethic. Customer facing and front of house roles enable them to fit work around caring for family and other responsibilities.

Keep reading for key insights from our panel discussion and get the latest research to understand exactly what older workers want and what retail and hospitality organisations can do attract this in-demand demographic.

What Do Older Workers Want?

What do over 50s want and need from an employer? Does your organisation know how to attract and engage this older workforce and how to hire and retain them?

Flexibility

Unsurprisingly, monetary concerns are coaxing older workers back into the workplace due to the cost-of-living crisis. However, when it comes to choosing an employer, flexibility takes precedence over money.

Hospitality roles typically attract a younger demographic of workers. However, the flexibility offered by these jobs also appeals to the older working generation. Given that the over 50s are the largest age group with caring roles, flexible and part-time work is a powerful motivator for them to fit a job into their routine.  

As well as permanent roles, seasonal and flexible roles are available within the hospitality and retail industries, which can be more attractive to the older working community. Working harder in those seasonal months creates work-life balance, allowing older workers to take time off during quieter periods to recover and be with their friends and family.

Sense of Belonging

Workers in this age rage are still searching for rewarding work. Older workers wish to find a place where they can feel a part of their local community and give back. Over 50s enjoy creating social connections that a customer-facing job in a restaurant or supermarket can provide.

Customer-facing roles in hospitality and retail give individuals the chance to serve and connect with their community. For older customers, seeing employees in shops and restaurants that represent them can boost the customer experience. 

Myths About Older Workers

There are plenty of misconceptions out there from employers and colleagues about hiring and working with older workers. Consider these myths busted.

Myth 1: Older Workers are Resistant to Technology

Certain words can be viewed as a turn off for an over 50s audience, including “tech-savvy”, which some see as a way to ward off older candidates. There are older people who will feel excluded because others wrongly perceive that they’re less capable with technology, when in fact they are part of a generation that has seen huge advancements in technology. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is in his late 60s, and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is in his early 60s.

Recognise that all colleagues work differently with technology, so you must be thoughtful in your use of training. In hospitality and retail, workers are likely to be using tills and sales computer systems. Regardless of whether a person struggles with technology, an organisation should have a strong program in place to support workers as they learn how to use these tools. For example, consider implementing a buddy system of workers and leaders who will happily help new employees in their first few weeks as they learn point-of-sale systems.

Myth 2: Absences are Higher Because of Health Issues

As people get older, their health can decline. However, this doesn’t mean that absenteeism is higher amongst older workers. In fact, older workers are more likely to have higher everyday attendance rates due to their strong work ethic. When you do see sickness or absence, it is typically in the form of long-term leave, rather than the odd day here and there.

Myth 3: Older Workers are Less Productive Than Younger Workers

A study demonstrated that there was no different between younger and older workers in terms of productivity. This study found that with their years of experience and memories, older people perhaps dismiss new information when they process things and instead use past information. It’s therefore important to acknowledge that older workers aren’t doing things worse, they just do these things differently through their years of experience.

What Can Organisations Do to Attract Older Workers?

So, how can retail and hospitality organisation tap into this hard-working talent pool? Here are four questions to ask to ensure your talent acquisition program is over-50s friendly.

Are Your Candidate Attraction Materials Inclusive for Everyone?

To attract older workers, you must think more creatively and broadly.  Use community-based websites to engage with people who live close to your locations. Show how the job will fit into their lifestyle and what it would be like for an older person to work there, rather than a generic message. Create testimonials from your current employees to support this.

Make sure that your imagery is diverse, featuring people of all ages. Look at your marketing materials and ensure that it reflects the community so that over 50s can see that jobs in hospitality are here for them. Take advantage of local community-boards in village halls and supermarkets.

How is Your Candidate Experience?

Retention and attraction are very different. Employers can encourage people to apply for jobs through their advertisements, yet ultimately, it is down to the experience the candidate has during the recruitment process, induction and beyond. The candidate experience is what will make them accept the position and stay at the company. 

When younger workers leave education, they’re taught how to answer competency-based interview questions and how to write a CV. The older generation of workers likely won’t have a CV and may not have experience with this kind of interview. Is your interview process age inclusive and relevant to them?

Are You Giving Them What They Want?

Now that we’ve shared what older workers want, is your organisation serious about flexible shift patterns? Over 40% of the part-time workforce is aged over 50. Not only does this part-time schedule work in hospitality, but also in retail, in which the holiday season creates a huge demand for workers.

Different shift patterns in retail can support individuals in their family commitments and lifestyle. Look at your employees’ caring responsibilities, for partners, for children, for elderly parents, and take this into account when creating your shift offerings.

But what else does this generation want from you? Everyone responds well to positive feedback. Both the retail and hospitality industries are great at celebrating successes, shown through brilliant behaviour and examples across organisations.

Finally, show that your organisation values them by offering benefit packages. Health is a priority for everyone as we get older, and health benefits can help to attract them to your organisation.

Does Your Anti-Bias Training Include Age?

Ageism usually gets the least amount of focus across the D&I plan. Train your leaders and hiring managers on unconscious bias particularly as it relates to age. Ensure there are no biases lurking in the recruitment process to open up talent pools instead of closing them down.

FUTURE OF WORK

DESTINATION 2030: 10 PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT’S NEXT IN THE WORLD OF WORK

The Multigenerational Workforce: Keeping Millennials Motivated

In this article, the third in our Multigenerational Workforce series, we’ll be focusing on millennials in the workplace, including what matters to them and how best to engage them.

By 2025, millennials will make up over half of the workforce, essentially replacing retiring Baby Boomers. They’ve already made a huge impact on the way we work, including leveraging technology to revolutionise productivity. As the older millennials enter their 40s, they’re moving into leadership roles and will have even more influence on how organizations operate into the future. So, how can employers harness the power of millennials to drive their businesses forward?

Who are Millennials?

Millennials, less commonly known as Generation Y, follow Gen X and precede Gen Z. Millennials were approximately born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s during the rise of technology, making them a tech-savvy generation. They’re the first generation to come of age in the new millennium, hence the name millennials. They are also known to put time and effort into their own personal beliefs and values.

Workers from this generation are bound together through their shared experience of financial challenges, including the 2008 Great Recession, which caused a 19% unemployment rate and massive student loan debt amongst millennials. As a result, members of the generation are more likely to find themselves underemployed or self-employed.

Perceptions and Misperceptions

This generation have been characterised as lazy and narcissistic, labelled as “Generation Me”. Other common perceptions for this demographic include being easily bored and hopping from job to job rather than staying with one employer. This could be, however, due to the anxiety caused from the global financial crash.

Despite these stereotypes, millennials have been described as self-sufficient, solving their own issues and teaching themselves through the internet rather than relying on others for help. They are also known to be confident, curious and open-minded.

What Matters to Millennials in the Workplace?

Digital & Tech Skills

Having been the first generation to grow up in a digital world, millennials have widespread experience of the development of technology, being both the “pioneers and the guinea pigs”.

This has affected the way that they communicate, with 41% of millennials choosing to communicate electronically instead of face-to-face according to a study by PwC. However, they’re also the last generation to have grown up in a world without the internet in every household.

When considering a job, 59% of millennials claim that technology in the workplace is an important factor. Employers are responding to this by encouraging professional use of social media at work and introducing smartphones as an employee benefit.

Mission and Purpose

Millennials thrive in a workplace that is mission-driven, keeping them motivated and inspired. In our recent report, Inside the Candidate Experience, we found that mission and purpose were the second most important factor for millennials when considering a new job. Those who work for companies with this as a priority feel more accomplished. Millennials want to share their employer’s goals and values in order to feel they are contributing to the world.

Collaboration

The move to a more collaborative working environment has been driven by millennials through the use of technology as it’s become more sophisticated. A collaborative environment allows workers to speak their ideas freely and feel a sense of belonging as part of a team. One way that employers are emphasizing collaboration is through mentorship programs, which have been proven to increase the happiness of workers and their productivity.

How Do You Engage Millennials at Work?

As millennials slowly take over as the majority of the workforce, employers must learn strategies to keep them motivated and feeling valued.

Be Open and Transparent

Millennials want openness and transparency from their leaders, ensuring their confidence with factual information that can be validated.

Keep millennials productive by creating clear targets are regular opportunities for feedback and praise. In fact, according to the same PwC study, 51% of this demographic believe that frequent or continuous feedback is a must on the job, making up a huge part of what keeps them motivated and engaged in their work.

Embrace Teamwork

To manage a multigenerational workforce, leaders must recognise that each generation may need different methods of management. Amongst millennials, 74% expressed that they are as happy working alongside other generations as with their own. So, it’s unsurprising to find millennials now managing older workers.

However, 34% of millennials felt that their personal drive could be perceived as intimidating to other generations. Effective programs that encourage interactions between different generations are necessary to overcome these misperceptions. For example, millennials thrive in opportunities such as “reverse mentoring,” in which they are able to learn from and teach skills to older workers.

Invest in Employee Development

Millennials look at their work as a means to learn and develop, which may be the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations. Indeed, a whopping 87% of millennials say that growth and development opportunities are important to them in a job, compared to just 69% of non-millennials. Offering opportunities to develop technology skills and interpersonal skills will not only help you retain millennial employees, it will help you ensure this important segment of your workforce is ready to step into leadership roles.

Trust Them

While millennials want to be supported through feedback and praise, they also want the freedom to “be their own boss”. Flexibility is important to millennials in the workplace. They’ll happily put in the long hours if they believe their work has a purpose, but those hours may not be during the traditional 9-to-5.

That said, many millennials believe that success should be evaluated through productivity, rather than the number of hours they are seen in an office. If they meet the deadlines you set, don’t be concerned about the hours they clock in and out. Focus on creating a flexible work culture to maximise millennial engagement, allowing employees to have more control over their working hours and location.

Lead with Your Values

Millennials are searching for more than “just a job” and want to achieve something worthwhile. Akin to Gen Z, millennials believe that companies and their leadership should be contributing positively to society. Strong corporate ethics will encourage loyalty among millennials.

A report from Deloitte found that 54% of millennials research a brand’s environmental impact and polices before accepting a job offer. To keep up with today’s candidates, it’s vital that organisations have updated employer value propositions (EVP) showcase the companies intentions to address social and environmental concerns.

In our multigenerational workplace, each generation will shape the world of work in their own way, and each will need different things from their working lives. Millennials bring commitment and collaboration to the workplace. In return, they want opportunities to grow and collaborate. Organisations that can effectively empower millennials to provide ethical leadership hold key to keeping them engaged.

To the workplace, millennials bring commitment and collaboration. What will the next generation of workers bring? Find out our top 10 predictions for what we think the working world will look like in 2030 and the best practices to prepare for the future in our Destination 2030 report.

FUTURE OF WORK

DESTINATION 2030: 10 PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT’S NEXT IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Breaking DE&I Barriers in Life Science: Tips to Build & Recruit a Diverse Workforce

Over 20 years ago, the U.S. Congress passed the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act, or the Healthcare Fairness Act, to address national issues such as the increasing need for a diverse workforce. With focus on the life sciences, it stated, “There is a national need for minority scientists in the fields of biomedical, clinical, behavioural, and health services research.” Yet, underrepresented populations are still the largest “untapped STEM talent pools in the United States.” 

Black and Hispanic individuals remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. Plus, women remain underrepresented in fields like physical sciences, computing and engineering. Moreover, organisations in Europe are struggling to find and retain women in STEM. According to Eurostat, female scientists and engineers remain a minority in STEM roles, and despite increases over the past decade, women still make up only 16.5% of engineers in the UK. 

For life science organisations, the lack of minorities and women in STEM fields and the sector overall will present long-term challenges in cultivating a workforce that will help them remain competitive in our increasingly diverse and interconnected world. 

However, it seems there hasn’t been much progress made in the 20+ years since the Healthcare Fairness Act. So, how can life science organisations make a difference in creating more diversity in life science careers? Keep reading to learn more about the DE&I challenges and opportunities for life science employers. 

Life Science’s Lack of a Diverse Workforce

Diversity is lacking across the entire life science industry, from research to clinical work. According to the U.S. National Science Foundation, the representation of minority ethnic groups in the science fields must more than double to match the groups’ overall share of the U.S. population. In fact, 65% of the U.S. workforce in life science are white, 19% are Asian, 8% are Hispanic and only 6% are Black. 

Being a future-focused employer requires investment in building diverse and inclusive teams. Bringing underrepresented groups into your organisation provides a full range of benefits and skills to drive innovation. The issue is particularly pressing as the industry undergoes a wave of transformation due to the disruption of tech—further widening the current skills gap.  

Additionally, diversity in leadership will help you boost retention and attract talent. With 85% of life science employees who identify as a minority saying they are ‘hugely underrepresented’ in senior roles, the lack of diverse leadership representation could be detrimental to your organisation. It could affect your bottom line and further hinder your ability to attain those highly competitive, in-demand skills (like data analytics and computer programming) needed within the industry.  

Diversity in Life Science

Furthermore,  Informa Connect conducted one of the largest industry employee research reports to date, which surveyed life science professionals around the world about their opinions on diversity and inclusion in the industry. When asked what the industry’s biggest problem is pertaining to having an inclusive and diverse workforce, over a third of respondents named the lack of representation of minorities in leadership roles. 

Gender Inequality in Life Science

Due to the lack of women in STEM careers, life science employers struggle to attract women to R&D roles. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 70% of global researchers are men. This creates problems for life science employers as both female life science professionals (65%) and male professionals (59%) believe women are under-represented overall. It doesn’t help that, although women make up almost half (48%) of life science workers, men still out-earn women by 13%.

Diversity in Life Science

Why is Diversity in Life Science so Important? 

Although there are clear disparities around representation of minorities and women in life science, only 23% of organisations are giving significant focus to DE&I and only 13% are financially investing in diverse groups.  Organisations that aren’t prioritising DE&I will struggle to cope with the industry’s current talent shortage. The lack of diversity puts organisations at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. 

In our recent research report, candidates say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. This is even more important for candidates from underrepresented groups. In Biospace’s latest report, 93% of women of color responded that they believe diversity is important when considering a job. Investing in DE&I-focused talent acquisition strategies, programs and training creates a huge opportunity for life science organisations to grow a diverse and productive workforce. 

A diverse and inclusive work environment builds trust, increases engagement and improves business outcomes.  

Organisations with strong “diversity climates” have increased employee job satisfaction and employee retention as well as financial returns above national industry medians. Companies with above-average diversity scores report nearly 20% higher revenue due to innovation.  

Moreover, diversity provides many benefits for improved organisational performance and productivity such as:  

  • Broader range of skills and experience  
  • Multilingualism to support global growth 
  • Increased cultural competence and awareness 

Diverse workforces, including cognitively diverse teams, leverage a greater variety of perspectives to solve problems faster with improved accuracy. According to the International Labor Organisation, when companies establish inclusive business cultures and policies, they experience a nearly 60% increase in creativity, innovation and openness. 

For example, the majority of the western world’s research uses tissue and blood from white individuals to screen drugs and therapies that are developed for a more diverse population. However, different ethnic groups experience different outcomes from various treatments, methods and diseases. A diverse workforce, especially in biomedical science and pharmaceuticals, would more likely push for inclusion in research and testing and provide different perspectives that could lead to new insights and discoveries. 

Strategies for Attracting, Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce in Life Science 

Creating a diverse and inclusive work environment can be challenging, but here are some proven steps for attracting top diverse talent and establishing equitable recruitment practices. 

1. Focus on Employer Branding  

Show diversity as part of your organisation’s DNA by articulating a compelling EVP and employer brand that clearly defines and establishes your organisational commitment to DE&I. Building your internal and external employer brand messaging gives you greater influence over what you are known for, how you are perceived by candidates and the value that you offer to your employees. Make sure your recruitment marketing materials are relevant to a variety of audiences with imagery and content that highlights diversity in race, gender and more. Plus, showcasing real employees adds a layer of authenticity to your employer brand.  

2. Update Your Career Site 

After viewing a job post, a candidate’s first point of contact is usually your career site. It’s crucial that your career site shows your DE&I efforts. Sharing diversity goals publicly and transparently is an important way for candidates to experience your organisational values and mission.  

3. Keep Job Listings Simple  

Plain language is especially important if you want to reach diverse populations. Use verbiage that your candidate would use rather than your internal terminology and assess your job ads for biased language. Avoid verbiage like “expert,” “rockstar” or “like a family” that are often masculine and project a homogeneous work culture that prioritises like-minded thinking over diversity. Additionally, remove any experience or skills that are “nice-to-have” in your job descriptions, and keep in mind that men and women value different things. For example, while men usually prioritise compensation, most women see work-life balance as their number one priority. 

4. Go Beyond Your Careers Site 

Elevate your sourcing strategy by:  

  • Optimising your reach by posting on relevant job boards and platforms. Don’t forget that professional networking groups, like the Black Healthcare and Medical Association, are great resources to get your job ads in front of the right people.  
  • Establish relationships with STEM-based programs at universities, alumni associations and other networking groups that cater to diverse populations. 
  • Get your internal teams involved by asking for referrals. Diverse employees are often connected with diverse candidates. 

In doing so, you cast a wider net to reach a larger pool of diverse candidates, maximising your chances of growing your workforce. 

5. Representation Matters 

During the interview stage, make sure candidates see how much you value diversity by having a diverse panel of interviewers. When a candidate sees someone who looks like themselves or another minority when being interviewed, it creates a sense of belonging and reaffirms your company’s mission to establish a diverse culture. Additionally, make sure your hiring panel has received diversity training and can successfully communicate with those that think differently and have unique backgrounds or working styles. 

6. Invest in Diversity Training 

Through diversity training, you can help change systematic diversity hurdles—such as your organisation’s hiring practices and how diverse talent is sourced as well as taking action to increase diversity at the board or leadership level.  

“Companies need to acknowledge the unique needs and contributions of employees with multiple historically excluded identities.”

Yaro Fong-Olivare, Executive director of Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business (CWB)

Diversity training programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution and come in various training types, which can be customised to help achieve your organisation’s goals. Diversity training helps employees feel a sense of belonging, so they are more likely to stay with an organisation, which can improve your retention rates. 

7. Enable Talent Acquisition Technology and Track Your Efforts 

To build a diverse candidate pipeline, it’s critical that you engage cutting-edge technology and analytics tools to know where your diverse candidates are coming from, how they’re progressing through the recruitment process, and which of your sourcing channels or campaigns brought them to you. Although these insights are often stored in different systems and platforms, a comprehensive reporting tool can help synthesise your data and visualise trends.  

For example, PeopleScout’s Affinix™ brings together applicant tracking systems (ATS), candidate relationship management (CRM) systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing, predictive analytics and digital interviewing to provide award winning innovation to support your organisation’s diverse hiring goals. Affinix Analytics’ diversity dashboards show how diverse candidates are entering your pipeline in real time. By tracking how candidates progress through your funnel, you can determine which resources and campaigns bring in top candidates from underrepresented groups. From there, you can analyse the results, identify hiring trends, adjust sourcing spend and strategy to make data-driven decisions. 

Conclusion 

Building an inclusive and diverse workforce doesn’t start and end with just hiring underrepresented groups, it requires an entire organisational shift. In order for the life sciences industry to maintain leadership and competitiveness in science and medical advancement, it’s crucial that organisations invest in building a strong and diverse talent pipeline. Everyone from the C-Suite to hiring managers has an important part to play in achieving DE&I goals and shrinking the industry’s growing workforce gaps.

The Multigenerational Workforce: Gen Z in the Workplace

To continue our series, The Multigeneration Workforce, this article explores the challenges and opportunities of Gen Z in the workplace. For the first time in modern history, four generations are working side-by-side: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. The ratios will change over the coming years—and so will each group’s level of influence.  

Gen Z is overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest generation history, boasting an incredible two billion people globally, and is set to become the largest demographic in the workplace by the end of the decade. Leaders must not underestimate the impact this generation’s ideas and perspective will have on the world and the workplace. By understanding their needs and preferences, you can attract, engage and hire the best Gen Z talent to propel your workforce into the future. 

Who is Gen Z? 

While sources vary, Gen Z is generally defined as the generation born approximately between 1995 and 2010. They are the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media and have come of age in a time marked by 9/11, polarised politics, economic fluctuations and climate woes. They watched their parents lose jobs during the Great Recession. Then, they experienced the biggest educational and workplace disruption in modern history as COVID-19 lockdowns led to their classes moving online, a surge in unemployment and psychological distress.  

As voracious consumers and creators of digital media, they focus on curating their online presence and have developed an “unapologetically me” ideology. As a result, they are generally socially progressive and value diversity.  

Perhaps ironically, growing up in this hyperconnected online world has also fuelled feelings of isolation and loneliness among many Gen Z-ers. Seeing friends posting content and having fun (cue the #FOMO), alongside the pressure to keep on top of social trends, can make the feelings of disconnection even more acute, leading to increases in depression and anxiety.

Gen Z in the workplace

What Matters to Gen Z in the Workplace? 

Gen Z-ers have different expectations and priorities than previous generations of workers. They’ve expressed less loyalty than past cohorts and are more pragmatic. They don’t assume they’ll have a social safety net upon retirement since seeing layoffs and pensions shrinking.  

Here are some more characteristics to look out for when hiring Gen Z candidates. 

Fighting for Social Change  

After witnessing the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements as well as the increased frequency of natural disasters due to climate change, Gen Z is seeking employment that matches their personal values. They believe in their ability to make a difference individually and are also demanding that employers do their part to help build a better future.  

LinkedIn released a global study of nearly 10,000 professionals which found that 68% of workers in the UK, France, Germany and Ireland consider it important to work for companies that are aligned with their values. In the U.S., it’s higher at 87%. Gen Z is driving this shift, with nearly 90% in Europe saying they would leave a job to work somewhere that better matches their values.  

Digitally Native but Digitally Unsure 

Growing up with access to the internet and mobile devices has led to a widespread presumption that Gen Z-ers are innately good with tech. However, new research shows this may not be the case at work.  

One in five of the 18-to-29-year-olds polled in HP’s Hybrid Work: Are We There Yet? report said they felt judged when experiencing technical issues in the workplace. Furthermore, this “tech shame” leads 25% of young professionals to actively avoid participating in a meeting if they think it will expose their tech shortcomings.  

Generation Disenchanted? 

Much has been said about the number of older workers taking early retirement, but the biggest rise in inactivity since the pandemic has not been among Baby Boomers, but workers aged between 18 and 24. In the UK, the share of workers in this age group classed as economically inactive—meaning they’re not actively working or looking for a job—stood at a record high of 32% in the second quarter of 2022. Plus, of those who are students or currently unemployed, 1 in 10 said they never intend to start working.  

In a rejection of the “girlboss” and “hustle culture”, the hashtag #IDontDreamOfLabor has taken off as a platform for Gen Z to speak candidly about their rejection of work as the basis for identity, framing it instead as a financial necessity for paying the bills. In the shadow of the Great Resignation, Gen Z is vocal about the role of work in their lives—sometimes to viral acclaim. Some have taken to TikTok to coach their peers on how to negotiate salaries, which red flags to look out for in the interview process and how to stick up for what they want at work.  

The formative experience of the Great Recession combined with entering the workforce during the pandemic has taught young people that hard work doesn’t necessarily guarantee stability. They want better than what their parents had and aren’t shy about demanding more from their employers. Organisations who can navigate these expectations will win the hearts of Generation Z. 

Gen Z at work

Strategies for Engaging Gen Z at Work

To help Gen Z workers become as productive and successful as possible, employers need to showcase their values and offer a combination of ongoing wellbeing support and robust skills training.  

1. Evaluate Your Employer Brand for Gen Z 

As most young people seeking employment with a company they can believe in, it’s important to build an employer brand that resonates with Gen Z values. In the recent global study, Inside the Candidate Experience, PeopleScout found that the top things Gen Z job seekers look for when evaluating a job are: 

  1. Mission and purpose 
  1. Flexible working and work/life balance 
  1. DE&I; Company culture (tied) 

With mission and purpose as the top factor for Gen Z job seekers, it’s surprising how few organisations include this information on their career websites. On the sites we examined, we found an organisation’s mission and purpose less than half (48%) of the time. This means that half of companies are passing up an opportunity to engage emotionally with their young talent audiences and assist prospects in understanding how the job they have applied for fits into that goal. Candidates won’t look at your open roles if they can’t identify your mission on your careers site. 

2. Embrace Social Media  

Despite concern over how much Gen Z-ers use and consume social media, it is their main way of staying connected, so it is imperative for employers to have a strong presence on social. Two-thirds of candidates use social media to research companies during their job search. Yet, a third of employers are not posting career related content (above and beyond job listings) to their social channels at least once a week.  

Favourite social platforms for Gen Z include TikTok, Instagram and YouTube—so consider creating video content to engage talent from this generation. “Day in the life” videos are a great way to provide a realistic job preview and show early careers talent what it’s like to work at your organisation. 

3. Showcase Your DE&I Efforts 

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is a top consideration for Gen Z candidates when looking for a job, and they’ll be scrutinising any employer to separate lip service from authentic DE&I action. When candidates from underrepresented groups are searching for jobs, the right job title might be enough to get them to click on a posting—but whether they actually apply is influenced by what they read and hear about how an organisation treats its people.  

Representation matters, and employers who showcase employees across a range of demographics show candidates that people from diverse backgrounds can flourish at their organisation. Ensure your recruitment communications include voices and stories from underrepresented groups at all levels of the organisation.  

Employers should also strive for transparency with their diversity recruitment data and share any plans they have in place to shift the dial around representation. Then, when candidates from underrepresented groups encounter similar voices throughout the recruitment process, they’ll realise that not only are they welcome at the organisation, but they’ll also have the opportunity to thrive and progress.  

4. Offer Employee Mental Wellness Benefits 

Growing up entirely in the digital age has undeniably had an impact on how this generation interacts with others. With fewer in-person exchanges, some 37% of Gen Z feels worried that technology weakens their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop people skills. Living in a world of non-stop communication through apps and social media also contributes to mental health conditions like anxiety. The strain of modern living on mental health has been further exacerbated by the pandemic and lockdown life. 

Gen Z-ers are proud advocates for mental health, sharing their experiences and removing the stigma around depression and anxiety. According to Cigna International Health’s 2023 survey of almost 12,000 workers around the world, 91% of 18-to-24-year-olds report being stressed. And they’re looking for support from their employer. A whopping 92% of university students say employers should offer mental well-being benefits, and more than a third (36%) are prioritising those who do as they start their careers. 

Employee assistance programs, employee resource groups and workplace mental health training are all ways employers are creating a culture that promotes mental health and wellbeing. Gen Z will be drawn to employers who are joining the conversation around mental health and creating a safe space to raise and address these issues. 

5. Highlight Growth Opportunities for Gen Z

Worryingly, 37% of young people say their education did not adequately prepare them with the technology skills they need for their career. This digital native generation is lacking in the digital literacy most organisations need to fuel future innovation.  

Gen Z is prioritising employers who demonstrate investment in developing their employees’ skills and career paths. Employers who highlight training, mentoring and professional development programs in their recruitment materials will satisfy Gen Z’s ambition and desire to grow.  

Training for new Gen Z joiners should centre around soft skills like resilience, relationship building and empathy, enabling people from this cohort to manage their own stress levels effectively and to understand when and how they should ask for help. Face-to-face support and mentoring programs are a core elements of training for Gen Z in the workplace. Mentoring and reverse mentoring are being widely embraced by organisations across industries, enabling more senior employees to share their experience with the younger generation to counteract skills gaps, while also tapping into the knowledge and insights of Gen Z in the areas of social trends and digital media.  

Gen Z in the Workplace: Embracing Positive Change 

As organisations plan for the future of work, they must work harder to appeal to the savvy Generation Z-ers entering the workforce. While most employers understand the importance of inclusivity and ethical decision-making, this generation will hold them accountable to putting those principles into action. Employers must embrace these values and the positive changes brought by Gen Z in the workplace. Talent acquisition leaders should keep their finger on the pulse of how these young workers will shape how we hire and develop talent in the coming decades. 

Check out our report to learn more about the future of work:

Future of Work

DESTINATION 2030: 10 PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT’S NEXT IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Talking Talent: Celebrating our Differences and Hiring People with Disabilities

In this episode of Talking Talent with PeopleScout, we’re focusing on the importance of hiring people with disabilities and how you can create and execute an effective program that serves candidates of all abilities.

The week of 13 March is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences in transforming how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported. It’s a week to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures, and employers have a role. While not all people with disabilities are neurodivergent and not all neurodivergent people have disabilities, it is essential for employers to understand how to best support these candidates and employees.

Joining to discuss this topic is Tim Powell, PeopleScout managing director of APAC.


Where does your passion for hiring people with disabilities come from?

I’m very invested in the broader issue of equality and diversity, both from a societal perspective and as it specifically relates to the organisational environment. My father worked for the United Nations supporting the disadvantaged, and my interest in this area was a part of my nurturing. I became much more active in the disability sector through the personal experience of raising our daughter who suffers from a rare neurological disorder and is profoundly impacted by it.

The focus on how we can better support people with disabilities entering and embedding themselves in the workforce was a natural development given my professional background. Here in Australia, in our major national disability employment program, 70% of new starters with disabilities do not survive the probation period with their employer.

What do programs for hiring people with disabilities look like at most organisations today?

In my experience, for most organisations, hiring people with disabilities is more of a sporadic initiative rather than a structured program. Therein lies part of the challenge. The issue is not so much what their programs look like, it’s that their programs don’t have structure around it.

Organisations need to first understand why they want to focus on hiring people with disabilities. Is it corporate social responsibility? Is it a way of accessing an available workforce in a tight labour market? Or is it to enhance workforce efficiency and effectiveness? These are all legitimate reasons for employers to build these programs.

How can talent leaders better understand the types of attributes that candidates with disabilities possess and what types of roles would be a good match?

It starts with selecting and shaping the role or the roles that are being targeted for the program. Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to this question. Having clarity about the goals of the program is important here, as it will influence the types of roles that are considered. Too often, organisations select existing roles in the organisation without necessarily thinking through how the person with a disability may or may not be able to carry it out. In many cases, the roles need to be carved up and shaped to the capabilities of the individuals being targeted.

How can employers reach this talent pool?

Finding candidates can be really challenging for talent leaders, particularly if they’re not quite sure what they’re looking for in terms of the skill sets or the roles that they’re looking to include in the program of work. Once you understand what you’re looking for, it becomes more evident where you can find these talent pools. Then, it is best to partner with an external provider. There are organisations, like Jigsaw Australia, that can help organisations find the right people.

What are some best practices for interviewing and assessing candidates with disabilities?

It’s important to assess basic competencies, attributes, capacity, and willingness to learn rather than previous job experiences or how well someone might present. People who are in the early stages of entering the workforce will often have very limited work experience. They may not have participated in the typical structured school/work experience programs that many early careers candidates complete. In many cases, they are challenged by some of the very basics around work experience in terms of things like workplace etiquette and timeliness.

I sit on the board of directors for a progressive service provider that thoroughly prepares people with disabilities to enter the workforce. They work through a series of competency-driven programs to build the individual’s readiness and confidence to join and thrive in the workforce. This is not a short-term program. Participants can be in this stage of development for up to two years or more before being ready to venture out into the open market.

For employers looking to start a program employing people with disabilities, this means that you need to be transparent about the core competencies and take a long-term view of the development of those individuals.

How can talent leaders prepare their internal talent teams and managers so that they’re equipped to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible and ensure success for their new employees?

There’s a line of thinking that says it’s best not to draw attention to a person’s disability, so don’t make too much of a fuss about it with others in a new work environment. While I can appreciate where that thinking comes from, I don’t particularly subscribe to the approach. In my experience, it often leads to misunderstanding and alienation. I think that making sure everyone around the individual is aware of the situation, while of course respecting the sensitivity of this situation, leads to the best outcomes. So, talking to managers and other team members about the characteristics and preferences of a person is entirely appropriate if it’s done in a way that’s sensitive to that individual’s privacy and dignity.

For example, a person with autism may not be comfortable talking about themselves in a group meeting. Team members need to be aware that their colleague may not make eye contact, for instance. That’s because it’s their preference, and team members shouldn’t take that personally or stop interacting with them. This is where education and training in advance of the new colleague are really important.

What can employers do to ensure that their new hire has continued success within their organisation?

Ongoing support is obviously the short answer. Make sure that the person has someone that they’re comfortable with outside of their direct manager who can check in on them. Leaders should also engage with the new hire about what support they need and how they’re finding their experience. People with disabilities generally want to be engaged with and are open to talking about what support they require. In fact, in many cases, they’re very used to it just because of the nature of their life experience.

If some elements are not working, there may be additional training or support that is required, and there may need to be additional work in managing or adjusting the expectations of all involved. Employers need to be actively thinking about what could be done differently to produce a better outcome. It’s not just about how the individual is feeling and progressing but how the manager and the team around them are feeling. Lastly, it’s important that if everything is being done to support the employee but the outcome is not meeting expectations, be prepared to act. Don’t linger on it. Sometimes I’ve noticed employers shy away from difficult decisions, but that doesn’t help anyone.

Are there any thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

This isn’t easy. If it was, more organisations would be much further down the path. But it is worthwhile, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense. Start small, build confidence, think laterally, and then see where it goes to from there. It’s a wonderful journey if you are committed to it.

Research Report

IDENTIFYING RECRUITMENT PITFALLS TO IMPROVE DE&I OUTCOMES

Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Expanding Your D&I Strategy to Include Neurodivergent Talent

By Tim Powell, Managing Director, APAC 

Neurodiversity in the workplace has become a much bigger part of the wider discussion about diversity and inclusion (D&I) at work over the last decade. While the neurodistinct community still experiences prejudice and misperceptions, the cultural wave of “neuroinclusion” and advocacy is driving a number of companies to change their hiring practices in order to attract cognitively diverse talent.  

Neurodiversity has taught us that diversity and inclusion are about more than age, gender, race, religion and physical ability. D&I is about ensuring different points of view and different experiences are valued. Indeed, Nancy Doyle, an organizational psychologist and neurodiversity advocate, argues we’re all differently abled in some way. We all have different experiences and perspectives that we bring to the table. 

In this article, I’ll explore what embracing neurodiversity in the workplace means for employers and offer some practical advice for creating a neuroinclusive environment.  

What is Neurodiversity? 

Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, coined the term neurodiversity in 1998 to promote “a political and civil rights movement” for the advancement of “neurological outsiders.” The term refers to the concept that everyone experiences and interacts with the world around them differently. A neurodivergent person’s brain may work in a different way than the average “neurotypical” person. They may have unique ways of learning, communicating, socialising or perceiving their surroundings. 

An estimated 15% to 20% of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. While nuerodiversity is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s syndrome, many conditions fall under the neurodivergent umbrella, including ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and even mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, OCD and social anxiety. However, people with these conditions may also choose not to identify as neurodivergent. 

Research Report

Identifying Recruitment Pitfalls to Improve D&I Outcomes

Why Neurodiversity in the Workplace is Important 

We all understand by now that diversity at work improves business performance, and neurodiversity in the workplace is no different. While some neurodivergent traits, like difficulty with organisation or sensory issues, pose challenges in traditional work settings, neurodivergent people have unique strengths that offer myriad benefits to employers. 

Neurodiverse professionals often have special skills in pattern recognition, analysis, mathematics and more. In fact, neuroinclusion is strongly tied to innovation. Cognitively diverse teams, consisting of both neurodivergent and neurotypical employees, are more creative, make better decisions and solve problems more efficiently.  

They’re also more productive. According to Deloitte, research suggests that teams that include neurodivergent professionals can be 30% more productive than those without neurodivergent members. Through their Autism at Work program, JP Morgan Chase has found that cognitively diverse employees are 90% to 140% more productive than neurotypical employees and make fewer errors. 

A diagram of what neurodiversity brings to the workplace
Source: Genius Within

In her TED Talk, “The world needs all kinds of minds,” autism activist and prominent animal behaviourist Temple Grandin says, without autism “there’d be no more Silicon Valley, and the energy crisis would not be solved.” In our world of technological advancements and automation, the advantages of neurodiversity in the workplace have never been greater. 

Neurodivergent Candidates: An Untapped Talent Pool 

Despite these benefits, neurodivergent people are far more likely than neurotypical people to struggle with unemployment. It’s estimated that as many as 85% of college-educated autistic adults struggle with unemployment in the United States. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), just 21.7% of autistic people in the UK are employed and are the least likely to be in work of any other disabled group. In Australia, 70% of new starters with disabilities do not survive the probation period and 65% of Australian businesses are unsure how to access this pool of workers. 

Neurodivergent individuals can sometimes struggle with interpreting nonverbal cues, facial expressions or tone of voice. Sometimes this means they display what may be considered inappropriate behaviour for the workplace, like excessive honesty or difficulty maintaining eye contact. This runs contrary to what many corporate cultures think make a good employee—having good communication skills, emotional intelligence and relationship building capacity. 

Most hiring processes are built for neurotypical candidates. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, interviews tend to focus on evaluating social skills and confidence. This may be relevant for some job roles but may not be a genuine need for others. This puts some neurodivergent applicants at a great disadvantage, particularly when high emotional intelligence isn’t required for success in the role.  

In the next section, I offer some practical changes you can make to your hiring program and recruitment processes to support the success of neurodivergent talent. 

“Inclusion is a social, moral and economic imperative. We all lose when human potential is squandered.”

Dr. Nancy Doyle, CEO and Founder, Genius Within CIC 

How to Foster Inclusion for Neurodiversity in the Workplace 

So, how can you make your workplace more neuroinclusive and create a recruitment process that ensures neurodiverse candidates are more likely to be successful? Here are some tips: 

Make Neurodiversity Part of Wider D&I Strategy 

At the vast majority of organisations, hiring people with disabilities or cognitive differences is often a sporadic initiative rather than a structured program. To achieve success, it can’t be a pet project of HR or any one person. Rather it should become a part of your larger workplace D&I initiative

Objectives 

The first step in building out a sustainable neurodiversity hiring strategy is to be clear on your objectives. It could be to support corporate social responsibility with an inclusiveness focus; to access a wider talent pool in a tight labour market; or to enhance workforce efficiency and effectiveness. Whatever the objectives, the whole organisation must buy into the program and have the right expectations. So, communicate your goals and objectives widely and secure strong, visible and consistent support from senior leadership.  

Audience 

Often, we see that organisations don’t think through how a person with a disability might perform their duties. When organisations define a talent persona for each job type, and target those individuals from the outset, employees are much more successful. This in an opportunity to test your assumptions about job roles and explore the impact if an employee didn’t certain skills. Your selection criteria must be justifiable and define what is essential to succeed in the role. 

Once you’re clear on the skillsets you’re looking for in each role, targeting the audience becomes easier. To help with sourcing neurodiverse candidates, you might consider seeking help from an outside partner who can help you think through the art of the possible and drive informed choices. 

Train 

Education and diversity training in advance of a neurodivergent colleague starting, or in the very early stages of onboarding is important to ensure they’re successful in their new role. Talking to managers and other team members about the characteristics and preferences of a neurodiverse person is entirely appropriate if it’s done in a way that is sensitive to that individual’s privacy and dignity. In fact, it’s critical these conversations take place, so your teams understand in advance what they can expect with their new colleague. For example, throwing a person with autism into a group meeting and asking them to say something about themselves is likely not going to be a comfortable experience for them. If managers know this ahead of time, they can make informed decisions about how to introduce their neurodiverse new hire to the team. Moreover, when employees know that their new neurodiverse co-worker may not make eye contact, they’re less likely to take it personally.  

Rethink Your Recruitment Process 

One reason I’ve seen neurodiversity in the workplace fail is because the recruitment process is not sufficiently tailored to the needs of neurodivergent candidates. The focus must be on assessing basic competencies and characteristics as well as a candidate’s capacity and willingness to learn, rather than how well they interview or even their previous job experience (as neurodivergent candidates often have less employment history).  

I caught up with our UK-based Assessment Design team, comprised of organisational psychologists, to understand more about how they’re helping clients create more equitable assessment experiences. They shared that because the interview and assessment process can often be complex—varying by role and company—there is no “silver bullet” and each situation should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, especially since many neurodivergent people are undiagnosed or may choose not to reveal their diagnosis to potential employers. 

Interviews 

Interviews in particular can be a challenging prospect for neurodiverse candidates. While most organisations won’t eliminate interviews altogether, they shouldn’t be the only consideration. They should be balanced with other evaluation techniques, and, for candidates who require adjustments, you might consider weighting interviews so they count for less in the overall candidate appraisal.  

Prepare to offer reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process as neurodivergent candidates in particular will likely need to deviate from established processes. This could mean changing the location or of an interview or allowing for a screen reader during an online assessment exam. Another example of an adjustment is to put the interview question into the chat during virtual interviews to make the experience more accessible. Keep in mind that any adjustments you make for the recruitment process should be adjustments you’re prepared to offer in the workplace as well.  

At PeopleScout, we provide experienced assessors who can act as a neutral third-party in interviews which can help to reduce bias in the scoring. 

Blended Assessments 

The PeopleScout Assessment Design team recommends a blended assessment approach consisting of multiple styles of question, allowing candidates different ways to show their potential. These blended assessments have the added benefit of giving candidates a realistic preview of what the role and organisational culture is like. For example, for a large international airport, the bespoke 1XP experience we created an immersive experience in which security officer candidates had complete various tasks, including “spotting the difference” between images, to test their ability to catch potential security issues in the airport.  

Communication 

Regardless of whether candidates have requested adjustments or not, should always clearly communicate with candidates the steps of the recruitment process, what’s expected of the candidate at each stage and what’s coming up next. All candidates appreciate this, but neurodivergent candidates in particular may benefit knowing what to expect upfront. 

Adjust the Working Environment 

Beyond experiencing issues with workplace etiquette, neurodiverse employees often struggle with sensory challenges, like sensitivity to light or sound. Modern office environments with open floor plans or noisy warehouses or shop floors can prevent neurodiverse employees from being successful in their work. 

Consider offering flexible seating arrangements, quiet places for breaks or noise cancelling headphones. When feasible, remote work is a great option for some neurodivergent employees. Be prepared to adjust lighting or make adaptations to a neurodiverse employee’s workstation. Even changing a uniform to have a softer fabric can make all the difference for a neurodiverse worker. For employees with learning disabilities, assistive technologies, like screen readers, or video trainings can help them complete onboarding modules and job tasks.  

There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Just like neurotypical people, disabled and neurodiverse employees each have their own unique requirements and preferences for maximising their productivity. 

Consider Career Paths 

Taking a long-term view of the development of disabled and neurodiverse employees is key to continued success of your program. One idea is to give neurodivergent employees a “buddy” or mentor that they’re comfortable with—outside of their direct manager. Having this extra person checking in on them is invaluable in retaining neurodiverse employees beyond the first three to six months. 

It’s also important that organisations engage with their disabled and neurodiverse employees directly about what support they need and how they feel about their experience. Sometimes employers are uncomfortable asking those questions, but people with disabilities generally want to engage and are open to talking about what support they require. Of course, these conversations should happen in a way that honours the employee’s privacy and dignity.  

Conclusion 

My experience tells me that making disability and neurodiversity part of your D&I strategy isn’t easy. If it was, more organisations would be further down the path. But it is worthwhile, not only to meet societal expectations, but because it makes good business sense. Start small, build confidence and scale. Neurodiversity in the workplace is a wonderful journey if you’re committed to it and plan appropriately. 

Apprenticeship Recruitment: The Key to Future-Proofing Your Talent Pipeline?

Apprenticeship recruitment has taken on more importance in early careers programs in recent years. In Australia, the number of organisations employing apprentices and trainees is at its highest level in over a decade with seven of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in Australia now accessible via an apprenticeship pathway. In the UK, there was a 22% increase in interest in apprenticeships from young people in 2022 according to UCAS.

Organisations and employees alike are waking up to the fact that many skills can be learned on the job—and that this is often more relevant training than a university degree. Whilst providing opportunities for hands-on experience and training, apprenticeships also help businesses to develop a talent pipeline that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Whether for workers just starting out or those changing careers, apprenticeships help people gain valuable skills and on-the-job experience as they move toward a career in their field. For employers, field and business apprenticeships are one of the best ways of engaging early careers talent or career changers.

In this article, we’ll explore how designing and offering apprenticeship programs can be a smart way for organisations to create their own talent pipeline, close their skills gaps, and diversify their workforce.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is paid employment that offers on-the-job training and is often accompanied by classroom-based learning. Some employers may offer their own in-house training while others offer it in association with a college, university or other training provider. An apprenticeship must last at least a year but can go as long as 5 years. Through in-depth, job- and industry-specific skills training, apprentices gain a nationally recognised qualification or certification upon completion.

Apprenticeship programs are a great choice for individuals who are early on in their careers, who are looking to upskill or who are exploring a career change. Employers are responsible for ensuring that apprentices work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills and receive time off from work to complete their classroom training.

Different countries have different laws and regulations around apprenticeships including wages and working hours. There are also various funding programs and government schemes available to encourage both workers and employers to embrace apprenticeships. For example, the UK Government introduced the (controversial) apprenticeship levy in 2017 which uses business taxes to fund apprenticeship training. The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program gives eligible employers in priority list occupations (ranging from aged care and dentistry to various engineering roles) wage subsidies for offering quality apprenticeship training programs.

Manufacturing Recruiters

Types of Apprenticeships

Types of apprenticeships differ from region to region. In Australia, apprenticeships are offered for skilled trades, whilst traineeships are for other vocations in sectors like hospitality, digital media and financial services. Organisations are increasingly embracing corporate apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of diversifying their workforce and creating opportunities for social mobility.

In the UK, a common misperception is that apprenticeships are just for manual or skilled trade jobs. Whilst there are many apprenticeship programs in the skilled trades, there are also apprenticeship opportunities for all kinds of careers from actuaries to arborists. For example, our client, National Highways, offers apprenticeship opportunities for project management, business administration, legal, surveying and data analysis.

There are different levels of apprenticeship including degree apprenticeships which correspond to an equivalent education level. In Australia, apprenticeships are typically delivered through Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and State or Territory Training Authorities and span levels from Certification II through to advanced diplomas. In the UK, completing a Level 2 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a GCSE, and a Level 7 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a master’s degree.

Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employers

Apprenticeship recruitment can be an effective way of growing and upskilling your workforce. Here are just a few of the benefits for employers.  

Building a Talent Pipeline

Companies in a variety of industries can build their own apprenticeship programs to help talent see the rewarding career opportunities available within their sector. As apprentices gain experience, organisations establish a pipeline of prospective employees.

Early careers employees see apprenticeship programs as proof of an organisations investment in their success and are more likely to stay with an organisation after completing the program. In fact, 90% of qualified apprentices stay on with their employers upon completing their training, and 69% of organisations say that employing apprentices has improved retention. Clearly, apprenticeship recruitment is an excellent way to “grow your own talent” and reduce attrition.

Closing Skills Gaps

According to McKinsey, a whopping 87% of organisations are aware they already have a skills gap within their workforce or will experience one in the next few years. Apprenticeships offer a way to develop a new generation of workers to help your organisation succeed into the future. A structured apprenticeship is an effective way to get a leg up in recruiting and retaining sought-after talent like software developers, data analysts and engineers. Indeed, 86% of employers said that investing in apprentices helped to develop relevant skills for the organisation.

The digital skills gaps alone could cause 14 G20 countries to miss out on a staggering $11.5 trillion USD in cumulative GDP growth. In the UK, companies like Dyson are partnering with the University of Warwick to offer apprenticeship training in agile software development, data science and machine learning. Meanwhile, automotive giants Ford and Enterprise are joining forces to offer technical engineering focused apprenticeships.

Boosting Diversity & Social Mobility

A third of employers agree that apprenticeships have helped improve diversity within their business. They are particularly effective for creating career opportunities and boosting earnings for workers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

As more people struggle financially with student loans and education costs, apprenticeships have become an accessible career path for workers of all ages and backgrounds and give participants a shot at career success. They allow workers from underrepresented groups to increase their earnings potential—to work and earn money in the field while they learn. If your company cares about being a catalyst for sustained change in the community, apprenticeships are a great way to achieve this.

RPO + Apprenticeships

As a leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider, PeopleScout helps organisations to obtain the talent and skills they need to succeed into the future through early careers recruitment solutions covering interns, graduates and apprenticeship programs. Unlike apprenticeship recruitment agencies, as an RPO partner our expertise in talent acquisition strategy and workforce planning means we’re better equipped to successfully integrate apprentice programs into your overall talent attraction and training strategy. Plus, we have experts on staff that can design an assessment centre that evaluates apprentice candidates against your organisation’s values, culture and other requirements.

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maximising your impact with early careers recruitment

Recession, Recruiting and Resilience: Creating Opportunities for Workforce Planning Success

With signs pointing toward a global recession, employers are preparing their workforces for what’s to come. This may mean cutting back on their investment in talent acquisition, delaying HR projects or even reducing their workforce.

While economic uncertainty can lead to difficult decisions for employers, it’s also important to recognise the opportunity it provides. This may be the perfect time to assess the resilience of your workforce and invest in workforce planning to make it fare better in the long run.

Is your talent acquisition program resilient enough to weather the storm? Here are four questions to ask to find out where you stand.

1. Is your employer brand and EVP still relevant?

If you haven’t updated your employer value proposition (EVP) in the last 18 months, it’s probably out of sync with the market and what candidates want. Now is the time to sense check if it’s fit for purpose in 2023 and beyond. Does your employer brand work for a remote and hybrid workforce? Is it an authentic reflection of what you have to offer your employees?

Even if you’re not planning to hire actively in the near future, employer branding is also important for retention. Auditing and updating your brand will help you retain your current talent and ensure you’re ready to attract top talent in the future.

2. Is your hiring process working for remote and hybrid employees?

At the start of the pandemic, if you shoehorned your old in-person hiring process into your new hybrid or remote work reality and never looked back, it’s time to assess whether that’s really working for you. Remote work often requires a different set of skills than office-based work. Is your current process helping you assess those skills to achieve the quality-of-hire you need?  

Review the competencies and behaviours you need for each role to ensure they’re relevant for hybrid or remote employees. Now is the time to update job adverts and evaluate your assessment process to ensure they are in tune with the success factors that drive your business now—instead of those that drove success pre-pandemic.

3. Are you achieving your DE&I recruitment goals?

While you may not be actively hiring, now is a good time to engage with diverse communities to ensure candidates from underrepresented backgrounds make up a significant portion of your talent pipeline when you’re ready to ramp up hiring again.

Increase your visibility in diverse communities via campaigns or event sponsorships. Look into your diversity analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not when it comes to sourcing and hiring your target audiences.

4. Is it time to consider RPO?

Now is the time to re-evaluate how you’re going to market for talent, whether via an internal talent acquisitions team, staffing agencies, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or a hybrid model. Work with your procurement partner to scrutinise your spend and evaluate your options to streamline and minimise risk—including standardising with one global RPO partner.

Just because you’re not hiring at the same volume you were before, doesn’t mean outsourcing is out of the question. Recruiter On-Demand or project RPO engagements offer flexible solutions for targeted hiring needs. An RPO partner can also offer value-added talent advisory services like market insights, employer branding, assessment services and more. Plus, once engaged, your RPO partner will be on tap to hit the economic recovery running and scale up for your hiring surge.

An economic slowdown is not the time to put your talent acquisition strategy on the back burner. Use this time to take stock and get prepared so you’re ready to bounce back faster. You’ll be able to beat your competition and create a resilient workforce that’s ready for whatever the future has in store.

Want more insight into the future of work? Check out our ebook, Destination 2030: 10 Predictions for What’s NEXT in the World of Work.