Diversity at the entry-level more impactful
Thursday August 12, 2021, By Janani Sampath
Diversity models vary with companies, while they all consider an array of factors like age, gender, geographical background, etc. A majority of the companies with DEI strategies direct them to middle-level positions. However, there is a growing consensus that it would be more effective when aimed at the entry levels.
Studies have also shown that devising a DEI strategy for early talent-hiring could be the fastest way to ring in the transformation.
In India, many companies have moved their DEI goalposts to the entry levels— Capgemini, PayPal, Cognizant, Amazon India, to name a few, have taken their initiatives to the campuses. While they look for fresh and young talent, they have also included gender and diversity filters as part of their recruitment programs.
Diversity is their norm
A report by McKinsey has noted that one of the core characteristics of the Gen Z category is that ‘diversity is their norm’, apart from being digital natives and pragmatic. A recent study by UK-based The Varkey Foundation, which surveyed population across countries including India, has found out that the country’s Gen Zs valued equality and equal opportunities the most. As Gen Zs are replacing the rest of the generations already in the workforce (the total Gen Z population is estimated at 472 million in India), companies have a readily available pool of people valuing diversity, to accompany them on their DEI goals.
E-commerce giant Amazon India is going after fresh talent-hiring from campuses in India across cities, in a bid to create 1 million jobs in the country by 2025. The company, which aims to invest in technology, infrastructure, and logistics over years has also tweaked its job roles and specifications for freshers to attract diverse talent.
For freshers companies like Amazon are a gateway for pursuing their career and ambitions, on their terms. They identify with the growth chart and see a reflection of themselves in the company’s pursuits, making diversity goals consistent across levels.
Boosts women participation
There are fewer women in leadership levels in sectors like the tech industry. Studies have shown that only 37 percent of women occupy positions at the entry-level in it. The gap is stark at the leadership levels.
Avtar has been batting for more women in C-suite roles, offering strategies to increase the number. Through the gender analytics exercise, Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) Avtar and US-based Working Mother have been tracking the growth of women in the organizations through their DEI initiatives like mentoring, up-skilling, and career sponsorship.
Globally, the thin female executive pipeline, as observed by Sheryl Sandberg, founder of LeanIn.org, could have a fix in the entry-level strategy. The system suggests that roping in women from diverse backgrounds at the entry level could give the much-needed impetus for the efforts towards increasing their population at the leadership levels.
Considering the goldmine of opportunities DEI at entry-level comes with, the Fortune 500 companies have begun looking at a penetrative diversity strategy. The foray of diverse talent into the workforce at an earlier stage is an investment for the future.
- With close to 15 years of experience in journalism across beats in multiple mediums, Janani Sampath is content editor, Diversity Digest.