A new study shows that, despite boosting focus on diversity and inclusion in recruitment initiatives, close to half of companies are not effective in achieving their desires outcomes. 

New data released by XpertHR shows that many companies are failing to execute effective diversity and inclusion recruitment initiatives.

This is despite almost all organisations (95 per cent) reporting that they are taking action in this area, believing this will demonstrate their organisational values in addition to their commitments to diversity and inclusion.

However, while just over half of companies (55 per cent) feel that their recruitment and selection practices are effective at making a positive contribution, the remaining number do not.

When analysing the various strategies used to bolster diversity and inclusion within recruitment, the most common action was to review job descriptions to check for potential bias against people with protected characteristics (64 per cent).

This was then followed by companies ensuring the organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is a core part of their corporate branding (54 per cent).

Finally, over half of businesses (52 per cent) took steps to train employees conducting job interviews to avoid types of questions which could be perceived as discriminatory.

Outreach to diverse populations is also a key priority for firms with over half (52.4 per cent) using a mix of candidate-attraction channels to reach a broad and diverse talent pool.

Similarly, 46 per cent collect and use diversity data to assess and improve their reach to diverse populations, and half of this number (23 per cent) talk to diverse communities when deciding on candidate-attraction methods.

Michael Carty, benchmarking editor at XpertHR, stated:

Businesses are facing ever higher levels of scrutiny over the actions they take to improve diversity and inclusion, with employees and potential employees bringing increased attention to whether or not these actions – including recruitment practices – are meaningful and bring about genuine positive change.

While actions to boost diversity and inclusion are widespread, our research suggests that more needs to be done to make these actions truly effective.

Less frequently used ways of diversifying candidate selection processes include adopting blind recruitment – which only one in four firms do (25 per cent).

Among respondents providing details of blind recruitment arrangements, most remove all identifying information or replace the candidate’s name with a number before passing job applications to managers for initial sifting.  

Michael Carty continued:

Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for HR professionals, and recruitment practices make an important contribution. How and whom organisations recruit and retain provides a direct and visible demonstration of how seriously the organisation takes diversity and inclusion.  

While it is promising that almost all organisations surveyed are taking action to boost diversity and inclusion throughout their recruitment and selection processes, questions remain over the efficiency of the measures taken.

Not only could a failure to boost diversity and inclusion in recruitment processes lock out top talent from being selected, it could also affect the organisation’s reputation, as clear commitments to diversity and inclusion are an increasingly important factor for many job candidates.

*This survey was conducted by XpertHR in May and June 2021 with respondents from 134 organisations with a combined workforce of 249,613 employees. 





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.