How to Hire and Retain Diverse Talent in a Skills Shortage

Your Opinion
Published: 02.10.23

In the current market conditions, it’s no surprise that 64% of UK businesses are experiencing issues with retaining diverse talent. But, despite the ongoing impetus to increase diversity hiring and make improvements to diversity and inclusion policies, the talent gap for diverse technology workers is still vast.  

Whilst the latest findings from The Tech Talent Charter suggest that the representation of gender minorities in tech has risen by around 2% in recent years, and ethnic minority workers is up from 20% to 25% of the overall technology workforce in 2022, diverse employees continue to feel underrepresented in the workplace, creating issues with employee retention.  

The persistent technical skills gap has made it even more difficult to attract and retain diverse talent. But by following these tips, we believe you can better support diversity and inclusion in your hiring process and improve retention rates for diverse hires: 

Set clear diversity goals 

Before you commence the hiring process, it’s important to define specific, measurable, and time-bound diversity goals for your organisation and report on your progress. Ensure these goals align with your overall business strategy and communicate them to your team. Not only should you be transparent and measurable with your goals, but you should also set action plans to promote change. These goals need to be realistic and reflect current market conditions. There is no point in saying that over 50% of your hires are to be female technical workers next year, when females only make up around 26% of the UK technology labour market – the goal would be very difficult to achieve.  

Create an inclusive culture 

Foster a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion. Sending out an anonymous annual survey to all employees is a good way of finding out areas of improvement within your organisation, what your employees honestly think about current policies, initiatives, engagement, and the working environment. Surveys are a good way of highlighting certain necessities and requirements that will help to make your staff members feel included. Then, you can invest in diversity training, conduct employee focus groups, and ensure leaders are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all. 

Abolish unconscious biases 

Aim to have a heterogeneous interview panel to reduce bias and ensure a variety of perspectives throughout the hiring process. Take time to review and update job descriptions/specifications to include gender neutral language, and ensure they primarily focus on skills and qualifications required for the role. This will help reduce bias and encourage a diverse range of applicants. It is also a good idea to remove any unnecessary information on a CV before handing it to hiring managers to prevent prejudice. Omitting the applicants age, gender and nationality from their CV allows the employer to see only the information that is relevant to the success of the application.  

Offer internship and mentorship programs 

If you have the recourses available, it’s a good idea to develop internship and mentorship programs targeted at underrepresented groups to provide them with opportunities for growth and skill development. In the current market conditions, upskilling is paramount in reducing the talent shortage. By finding candidates, internal or external, with useful qualifications or skills that can be upskilled, not only are you broadening the pool of candidates for diverse hires, but you are also finding a way to navigate the skills shortage – two birds with one stone! 

Implement flexible working policies 

Flexible working is a great way to attract and retain diverse talent as it accommodates a variety of different needs. For example, offering remote working may encourage more mothers to apply for your vacancy as it allows them to stay at home and look after their children. Flexible working is also good for neurodiverse employees as they can control and adapt their surroundings to suit their needs, instead of having to come into the office every day where it might not be the most comfortable environment for them. Top tip – advertise flexible working using key words in your adverts to increase application rates!  

Read more on how flexible working is key to closing the tech gender gap here. 

Update policies regularly 

We live in a fast-changing world, so what might be relevant one day can be replaced with something more important the next. Make sure you stay up to date with changing diversity and inclusion trends and laws. It’s good practice to review and update your hiring policies and practices in accordance with any changes. Ensure your hiring policy and diversity & inclusion policies align with the Equality Act 2010.  

By implementing these tips, you can create a more inclusive and diverse workplace and help to improve retention rates.  

The power of a recruitment partner 

Partnering with our specialist technology recruitment agency is a great way to diversify your applicant pool. We have an extensive database of top talent across Scotland, the North of England and Finland with varying levels of skills and experience. Our recruiters have ongoing diversity training and unbiased principles, committed to finding you the best possible match for your vacancy and organisation. 

See how we can help diversify your workforce, call our team on 0131 510 1500 or email with your enquiry today.

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