April 8, 2021
5 minutes of reading
Comments expressed by Businessmen the contributors are their own.
Faced with nationwide racism, companies are showing great interest in diversifying their workforce. When data from McKinsey supporting the value of diversity with sales and earnings growth in diversified firms outperforming less diversified firms, strong commitment to finding, hiring, and retaining talent black has become a moral imperative. Much of the gossip in the business world focuses on the lack of black CEOs, and it is. Since the Fortune 500 list was first published in 1955, there is only 19 black CEOs out of 1,800 leaders. But there is no quick fix for these deviations. It took years to prepare someone for a position in C-Suite. Let’s go back to square one.
One solution to diversity lies in the origins of the supply chain: Companies need to diversify their sources of hiring.
Companies can find the best and brightest from diverse communities by taking the following three actions.
1. Expose young blacks to your industry early
Undergraduates choose a major based on their career aspirations, and the career path chosen due to exposure to an industry. A high school students who are particularly strong in science, technology, engineering and math skills will be attracted to an industry they know, such as medicine. Every high school student knows about the medical field because of their personal contact with it. They do not immediately consider an industry such as investment banking or pure fintech because they may not know what the industry consists of, that such occupations in that industry even exist or can achieve one. profession in that field.
This lack of exposure is one of the reasons I create First job, a NYC-based nonprofit that trains and introduces diverse high school students from underrepresented communities into paid internships at dominant companies in their respective industries. Our interns are exposed through an internship or advice in companies from finance to healthcare in companies such as Morgan Stanley, PJT Partners, Mount Sinai Health System and TradeWeb Markets. Especially bright, diverse young people learn in-depth what an industry is and understand the wide range of careers they can pursue.
Once a rising high school student gets exposed to worlds they don’t know much about, whether it’s advertising, private equity or technology, they are more likely to choose fields of study that better match their career goals and will knock on your door for a position. University graduating.
2. Start talent training in high school
Countless companies start training talent too late if they want a more diverse workforce. Start earlier. Offer internships for high school students or connect with third-party providers to do manual work for you. Internships and mentoring as a child play an important role in attracting diverse talent and providing youth from underrepresented communities social capital. My own career in finance began with my high school internship as an executive at the Chicago Board of Trade. The connections I have made there are a result of my decades-long history on Wall Street.
Starting talent training in high school benefits both company and teenagers. The organization can build relationships with diverse talents in front of other companies. The diversity in thoughts that a young, diverse trainee brings is invaluable. Companies are able to maintain relationships, offer college trainees, and stay top of the line when making career decisions. In addition, it is becoming increasingly common for corporations to find talent early and not even require a university degree. Apple, Google, Netflix and Tesla all consider candidates who don’t four-year degree. For teenagers who are diverse in an internship, they have the opportunity to develop social capital, build strong connections and networks that otherwise they might not have had the chance. Start early and look for diverse talent before other companies have a chance.
3. Search for talent broadly
Undoubtedly, elite universities foretold that will produce talented people who will easily fit in your company and do well. But do not reject recruitment from other universities or programs. If you do, your selective hiring process will make you miss out on high-quality, underutilized talent. Besides, only 8 percent Students in the Ivy League and other highly selective colleges and universities are Black. By prioritizing this narrow graduate as your hiring team, you have limited the number of Black candidates you will see.
Among all Black students earning a bachelor’s degree, 22 percent among them are from Black Universities and Colleges in History (HBCUs). Prioritize recruiting from HBCUs, and (once again) please resist the temptation to limit yourself to those who are best known. Network expansion. There are over 100 HBCUs in the United States that train graduates in all disciplines lacking diversity.
Expand your pool even further. Look for graduates from community college and engineering programs and who have certificates in skills specific to your industry. Amazingly diverse talents can suit your company even if they don’t have a college degree.
To truly make progress in their aspirations for diversity, companies need to rethink where they look for talent. Seek opportunities to engage young black talents in your industry early on so they know it’s a viable path for them. Begin the process of looking for diverse talent in high school (much earlier than the status quo) and go against hiring from a typically narrow group.