Achieving Diversity in a Contingent Workforce

On the back of Hays’ new report on workplace diversity, Trevor Vas, Director at ATC Events and Faye Aylward, Business Director -Talent Solutions at Hays, sit down to discuss diversity in a contingent workforce.
You can watch the video interview or read the transcript below. You can also view Faye’s top 5 tips for driving a diversity strategy, here.

TV: I understand Hay’s have got a new whitepaper on diversity?
FA: Yes absolutely, released just recently.
TV: What was the impetus behind that?
FA: Well Hays as an organisation has been concerned with diversity for a long time. Our workforce has been very diverse, and we’ve been an employer of choice for women for the last eleven years. Recognising that diversity is much wider than just gender diversity, we wanted to produce something that we could give to our clients to support them in their own endevours to create a more diverse workforce.
TV: Have you felt, being an employer of choice and having that gender balance, has that improved Hays’ results?
FA: Certainly, I think it gives us the ability to relate better to the diverse markets that we work in. When we started thinking about diversity, it was gender based-as most companies do- as we’ve moved on and started to recruit different types of people it’s helped us relate better in our different geographical locations
TV: Faye, I also understand that Hay’s are very strong in the contingent area with MSP’s globally. To me it’s a bit of a paradox, contingent and diversity; I need speed, do I have the time for diversity? How would you explain that?
FA: Yes absolutely and I think it’s a difficult one because where workforces are becoming more reliant on contingent labour, a lot of organisations are starting to focus on that. With that speed component, unless organisations are planning – so doing quite substantial workforce planning before they get to the point where they need to hire contingent labour – it is very difficult to find it. The only way around it is to have HR aligned with the strategic plan for the organisation, so those candidates can be talent pooled and utilised when they’re needed. That really is the only way you get around the speed and the need for diversity and that talent.
TV: You mentioned in another conversation sourcing. Is that integral in the diversity element?
FA: Absolutely. Where you’re looking to work in specific categories of diversity, for example individuals who may have a disability, or possibly people from the indigenous population, to find the people with the right skills, or people who you can train and have a desire to learn to potentially do new jobs, so that you can incorporate them into your workforce, does sometime take some time. So that talent pooling aspect allows you to gather those individuals and start preparing them to enter the workforce.
TV: So I also understand that you use a range of technologies in your contingent workforce. Does that support; in terms of reporting and analytics, the diversity element of what you’re trying to do?
FA: Absolutely. I think the important thing to note is that, without technology, if you’re a large organisation it’s almost impossible to track what your diversity ratios are, because you simply can’t see them. Most definitely if you’re a running software over the contingent workforce then you’ve got it’s much easier to capture information, to report on it, to monitor it, and therefore to improve it.
TV: Do you have any examples from clients in the contingent space, that are moving into that diversity area?
FA: One that comes to mind is that we work with an oil and gas organisation in Australia, and they really identified that they had an issue with a lack of female applicants to some of their technical roles out in the field, which was not a surprise as it’s a fairly standard problem that companies face in that sector. They really worked alongside the (HAYS) onsite team, to integrate them in their planning, to understand what the organisations goals were with regards to balancing that gender diversity, and they worked quite closely with their hiring managers doing training, highlighting unconscious bias, and then working with our team to deliver a panel of more balanced CV’s and resumes to the line managers when they were hiring, and encouraged our team to challenge the hiring managers when they weren’t selecting people who were potentially female, who could have been really good for the roles. Through that process, what actually transpired is that they’ve been able to balance their workforce to a 52%-48% male to female ratio, which is excellent for that industry.
TV: In a technical field?
FA: Yes in a technical field.
TV: Wow. Faye thank you, it’s been a real lesson to me in terms of diversity, and I wish you success in your projects.

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