According to new research, over two-fifths of staffing companies do not record data on the demographic makeup of their own workforce and leadership teams.

New research by Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows that almost half of businesses are not recording data on the diversity of their staff.

When quizzed on why they are not doing so, over a third (38 per cent) said they are “too small of an organisation to do so”.

An additional quarter (26 per cent) claimed to have “never considered it”, showing a large oversight in improving diversity and inclusion within firms.

Whilst respondents did feel that a culture of D&I exists in recruitment, there was far more uncertainty about staff having access to equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) training and whether their business had an active and evidenced ED&I programme.

Specifically, the research found it is religious beliefs (90 per cent failing to record this) and staff qualifications (73 per cent) which are least likely to be recorded.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of those organisations surveyed said they did not record any sexual orientation data on their workforce while 40 per cent don’t collect information on the age of their workforce.

Both bodies have expressed the importance of collecting this sensitive data in compliance with guidelines which will aid in improving D&I practices within the staffing industry.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo reflected on the importance of keeping D&I data:

When we first embarked on this collaborative research, our hope had been to identify what the current make-up of the recruitment sector looked like, any discrepancies between corporate and individual views, and where diversity may be ‘lacking’.

What we found, though, was a more pressing issue: a lack of information. Without a clear and honest picture of your workforce, will be difficult for staffing companies to identify where there are gaps or what demographics are currently under-represented.

However, while we might not be where we’d like to when it comes to being able to identify the demographic balance in the recruitment world, now is the time to commit to driving true diversity – starting with accurate and essential record-keeping. There are restrictions on what employers can and can’t ask staff and how recruitment businesses approach the tracking of sensitive personal data will require careful management and guidance.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, also stated the need to collect demographic data within recruitment:

The glaring finding of the report is a lack of effective diversity monitoring in some recruitment businesses. As the old saying goes, what gets measured gets managed, so effective data collection needs to spread more broadly across the industry.

More than any other sector, recruitment sits at the heart of workplace diversity and inclusion. As an industry, we open up opportunity to millions of people every year. Many in the industry are making a difference, both individually and collaboratively – and our own firms being examples of good practice is central to making progress.

*APSCo and the REC surveyed 105 staffing companies and 348 individual recruitment professionals for this report. Data were collected between December 2020 and May 2021. The full data-set can be found within the REC and APSCo’s UK Recruitment Diversity & Inclusion Index.





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.