Nearly half of senior managers do not believe their boardroom colleagues are committed to strategies that will attract minority groups into the workforce, according to new research.
The latest Daily Telegraph/Cranfield School of Management, Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI) Hot Topic report has found that just under one in ten respondents - 9 per cent - said they did not think their board was committed to workforce diversity and a further 38 per cent said they simply did not know.
Shaun Tyson, Professor of Human Resources at Cranfield School of Management described the figures as disappointing. "It could be that boards simply haven't realised the extent to which diversity is an issue for customers and clients," he said. However he did see some grounds for optimism, given that 53 per cent of organisations are taking active steps to improve diversity.
The report found that although more than two in three employers monitor minority representation in their workforce, fewer than one in five monitor their customers. Given that that customers prefer to do business with organisations that represent them, this oversight could have very real commercial consequences.
It also emerged that only one in three organisations have diversity targets or tailor recruitment ads to attract minority groups.
Among organisations that do take diversity seriously, profits and social responsibility appear to be the major drivers. In both cases, 55 per cent of respondents said these were pushing their organisation to attract recruits from minority groups.
The research also suggests that attracting a diverse workforce could help firms retain key skills. For example, women and ethnic minority workers appear to be among the most loyal. Only 11 per cent of managers reported having problems retaining female workers and only eight per cent had problems hanging on to the ethnic minority staff.
The Recruitment Confidence Index is a quarterly survey of UK directors' and managers' expectations of changes in recruitment activity and business conditions. It is produced by the Daily Telegraph and Cranfield School of Management.