Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Diversity and Inclusion Placed in Sharp Focus as HR Leaders Reveal Post-Pandemic Hiring Priorities

New survey explores the long-term impact of COVID-19 and how the last 12 months has transformed the UK recruitment industry forever

  • Nearly nine in ten (86%) said diversity and inclusion is a priority, with over a third (34%) of hiring teams reexamining their job listings to include inclusive language
  • The switch to remote working has enabled organisations to pull from a wider and more diverse candidate pool, with nine in ten (92%) hiring managers no longer considering location to be a barrier for effective recruitment 
  • Nearly all HR leaders in the UK (94%) are turning to virtual interviews to maintain candidate safety and help manage increased workloads

A year on from the first lockdown, the pandemic has placed additional strain on hiring teams and diversity and inclusion has been placed into razor-sharp focus. Over half (53%) of UK hiring leaders feel COVID-19 has made their job more stressful, while 86% named diversity and inclusion as a priority in their hiring process, according to a new survey from HireVue - the global leader in video interviewing, assessments, chatbot and recruiting automation technology.

The vast majority of HR teams have turned to technology to help them weather the storm, with 94% currently incorporating virtual interviews, or intending to across the next six to twelve months and one in four (25%) moving solely to virtual interviews. By incorporating additional technologies like automation (74%), AI (60%) and chatbots and text messages (53%) across the next twelve months, hiring teams will have access to a wider, more diverse pool of applicants than ever before.

“The lessons learned from the rapid and accelerated adoption of technology will be invaluable as hiring teams look to scale up their hiring efforts as the economy begins to recover,” said Andy Valenzuela, Chief Human Resource Officer at HireVue. “We’re proud to have supported so many businesses through a tough year and just last week we surpassed 20 million interviews globally. While the pandemic has unearthed significant challenges for hiring teams, there is also reason to be optimistic, with many using virtual interviewing and the prospect of continued remote working as a way to target a wider, more diverse talent pool than ever before”.

HireVue’s targeted survey of 368 UK Hiring managers highlights the changing nature of recruitment, the long-term impact of COVID-19 and the major post-pandemic priorities for hiring teams, revealing three key trends:

Prioritising diversity, equity, & inclusion

Modern hiring technology is playing an important role in driving diversity and inclusion forward. A quarter (25%) of hiring managers have found the introduction of virtual interviewing useful in finding a diverse candidate pool, while 92% of respondents no longer believe location to be one of the biggest barriers to effective recruitment. 

Given this priority, hiring teams are focusing on how they will accomplish their diversity and inclusion goals. Just under half (45%) suggested they will expand their recruitment networks to seek candidates from non-traditional places, with roughly the same amount (44%) partnering with diversity-focused organisations, who connect underrepresented professionals with job and internship opportunities. Furthermore, a third (34%) of respondents said they will be examining their job listings and rewriting them to include inclusive language. 

Technology’s rapidly expanding role

During the pandemic, organisations focused on the safety of their employees and job candidates by turning to virtual interviews. With safety measures now in place, organisations will turn to technology to continue improving the hiring process. 

Video interviewing has been a revelation for both candidates and hiring teams, with 79% of recruiters reporting improvements in experience for their candidates. For hiring teams, the biggest benefits came in the form of time saving (54%), recruiter safety (54%) cost saving (47%) and increased flexibility (47%). 

The efficiency floodgates are open

Over the past 12 months, technology has helped ease the pressures affecting hiring teams with many (41%) reporting longer waits to fill vacancies and a third (32%) faced with significant budget cuts. Over a quarter (28%) of hiring leaders indicated that a combination of increased workload, depleted resources and too many lengthy administrative tasks are the biggest barriers to effective recruitment during these challenging times.

Moving forward, two-thirds (62%) of hiring leaders want to spend less time on scheduling and more time on candidate engagement and personalised interactions. They also want more streamlined communication between recruiters, hiring teams and candidates, and a faster turnaround time for new hires, and they are increasingly open to incorporating other recruitment technologies into their hiring processes to achieve this. 

For more information, visit here to see the full report.