Pensions industry urged to alter recruitment to improve diversity

The pensions industry should be more open to different recruitment approaches, self-evaluation and listening to new voices in order to increase diversity, according to a report from NextGen.

The report, titled Recruiting for a cognitively diverse workforce, has the aim of beginning a conversation in the industry about how recruitment can be improved after examining how the sector is already using the recruitment process and looking at what lessons can be learned.

This was examined through breaking the process down into attracting applicants, sorting candidates, assessing and interviewing applicants, and putting job offers together.

For example, the report recommended avoiding gendered language and using inappropriate job boards when looking to attract new employees.

It continued: “Evidence suggests that ‘requirements’ and other minimum hurdles for jobs can be off-putting for candidates. They should be as honest and true for the needs of the role as possible and 'preferred' items should be avoided.

“For example, if it’s not truly necessary to have a degree, don’t include the requirement for a degree in the essential criteria. This is likely to become more and more important as hiring practices become less subject to human intervention.”

The report added that hiring for entry level and graduate roles was a chance to hire based on enthusiasm and interest rather than experience, calling for employers to respect the fact that “everyone had to start somewhere”.

Elsewhere, the report recommended that industry members trial measures such as using different wording in job adverts, implementing question sets rather than CV sifting, and offering applicants creative assessment exercises.

It added that “employers should routinely evaluate every stage of their recruitment practices and take forward not only those elements that have a proven track record, but also those that show promise compared with entrenched approaches”, while also noting that companies should look to include innovative and diverse thinkers.

The report stated: “It’s easy to see why experience is valued so highly for some roles, but for others it’s more difficult to understand. We argue that we need to consider whether the benefits of hiring new and different voices outweigh significant experience in more circumstances than not.

“Employees can gain experience, they cannot gain a different voice. Less experienced and/or different voices have value, represent a huge swathe of pension scheme members and should be heard. And to hear them, you need to hire them!”

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