Seizing the talent right on your doorstep

Last week saw a report published that stated elite firms “ignore the bright working class”.  Social inclusion is not a new topic; various initiatives over the last 15 years have tried – and to certain extent – failed. Yet based on the report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, privilege is still more likely to get you a “high-flying” job at an elite firm.

Yet, does privilege indicate better ability, work ethic, cultural fit or relationship skills? No, of course it doesn’t.

Naturally, all sized businesses across the world need to make their own choices based on their needs. Being privately educated has been seen as the step to take to ensure a positive future. So does that mean those professionals who have not been privately educated or come from a wealthy background mean despite many talents they possess they are not going to get the chance to show they have an “X Factor?”

More studies have been undertaken across the world by many well-respected charities and organisations to understand the benefits of social-inclusion. Unsurprisingly, all the studies strike the same chord, that increasing the:

  • Gender
  • Ethnic
  • Racial
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socio-economic diversity

Of your workforce has a direct, proven correlation of increased engagement, increase in turnover and overall profit. Efficiencies improve, as do individual, team and overall business performance that relates to the benefit of that respective organisation.

This is all easier said than done. There are many challenges and this blog isn’t qualifying the application of quotas. Maybe the insistence on privileged personnel within Elite businesses is a generational thing. As the world becomes a smaller place, so do the opportunities to work together and open new avenues and the talent diversity debate will be consigned to history and a completed tick in the box on the “to do” list is recorded.

Let’s look at other industries. In sport – and football in particular – The Football League clubs (The Championship, League 1 and League 2) are looking to adopt “The Rooney Rule”. This rule was introduced by NFL Clubs in the USA to ensure minority candidates are interviewed for coaching and managerial jobs. However, there is no requirement that states teams have to appoint from this pool of candidates interviewed. Established in 2003, in response to the firing of a number of coaches from ethnic minorities, Dan Rooney offered this route as chair of the NFL’s diversity committee. He had seen success in adopting this policy at his own club – Pittsburgh Steelers – by appointing African Americans to serve coaching and managerial roles at the club.

For the Football League clubs, the Rooney Rule has been met with a lukewarm response. No promises are offered to any candidates, just an opportunity to retain their footballing expertise within the game to enhance the skills of those youngsters coming through.

Nightmare for recruitment?

No, not at all. Candidates should still be picked based on suitability for the role. However, there are some steps that businesses – of all sizes – could apply:


  • Adapt a Talent Diversity Policy that is visible for all and is at the heart of your Corporate Social Responsibility policy
  • Think laterally over the pool of talent available –enhanced application of assessment days that are highly advertised
  • Creative referral schemes
  • Positive and enhanced community action. Take the lead business!

With candidates at a premium, recruiters and businesses must widen their scope for influence. Engendering innovation and fostering creativity in our recruitment is something which will improve the pool and offer opportunities to those who might not have been considered.  The Government is pushing “Fair opportunities for all”, yet at some point businesses need to realise the talent they have on their doorsteps.

Anyone seen “Good Will Hunting”?

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