Creative Recruitment and Diversity

August 2017

Despite today’s uncertain economic climate, the demand for creatives is increasing exponentially. So much so, that recruitment agency, Oscar, predicts that in the UK alone, “the digital and creative sector will need 1.2 million new workers by 2022 in order to keep up with its growth” (a whopping 50% of the current UK creative workforce!). What’s more, according to the former chair of Arts Council England, Peter Bazalgette, the issue of diversity is currently the single biggest challenge facing the creative industries.

The Guardian ascribes some of the blame to “application forms and online tests”, which “hold back graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds”. However, this is just scratching the surface of a much greater issue: creative industries need to be more inclusive and dynamic when it comes to recruitment. Why is diversity important? Aside from the moral issues, diversity is integral to business success. If you build a diverse team made up of mixed genders, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, abilities and work styles, you are more likely to meet your customers’ needs.

Different viewpoints are essential when responding to demanding briefs, fluctuating demographics and globalisation. And the benefits don’t stop there. Financially speaking, McKinsey, has found that:

  • Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform less visionary organisations.
  • Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outshine their competitors.

According to the EY Foundation, “there are over 600,000 16-24 year olds currently unemployed in the UK” while agencies struggle to fill entry-level vacancies. There are huge numbers of talented young people from typically disadvantaged groups who are under the radar of most employers. So how does the creative industry begin to bridge this gap? Firstly, it has to acknowledge its prejudices and misconceptions.

there are over 600,000 16-24 year olds currently unemployed in the UK

EY Foundation

Secondly, it must develop new channels of communication, making it easier for people from all backgrounds to engage.Agencies the length and breadth of the UK are turning to more adventurous recruitment initiatives. One agency is tackling this challenge head on by making its ads accessible to a wider audience.

borne’s latest recruitment video for a senior designer dispenses with the need for formal qualifications, focussing instead on personality: humour being an important prerequisite. The 49-second video seeks to appeal to people according to their popular interests, whether that be film, music, fashion, trending YouTube videos, dance or TV. This approach is a variation on the increasingly popular and innovative hiring technique, “blind recruitment”, adopted by organisations including HSBC, the BBC and Deloitte. This practice overcomes unconscious bias by placing priority on ability and personality regardless of background and paper qualifications.

Written by Stefanius.

This was originally published in HELLO YOU CREATIVES.