Recruiting for diversity - four practical steps (Book Extract)

Jan 20

Recruiting for diversity is high up the museum management to-do list - or should be - as the need transcends merely meeting quotas or representation targets. Micah Styles of Barker Langham Recruitment sets out some practical steps to make the process both easier and more successful.

The following is an extract from For Love or Money: Confronting the State of Museum Salaries.

If you'd like to read the complete chapter - Next-Gen Thinking for Museum Recruitment - you can download it here.

Museums in which boards and staff have different backgrounds and experience are more likely to encourage debate and to make better decisions. This is because diversity encompasses not only the characteristics enshrined in employment and equality legislation but also a diversity of thought. Museums should try to recruit people who think in different ways, as well as those who have different backgrounds.

Achieving diversity is a perpetual challenge, especially for museums that are unable to attract as broad a demographic as other higher-paid sectors and, in theory, virtually every organization needs to seek to increase or at least maintain diversity when recruiting new staff. This needs HR departments to think creatively and engage with parts of the population not traditionally reached, including young people, people with disabilities and members of minority or ethnic communities. The need is even greater at executive and trustee level where 97% of Trustee Chairs are white and seven out of ten are men. The UK Charity Commission estimates that only 0.5% of the trustee population is made up of 18-24 year-olds and over a quarter of nonprofits feel that their leadership team lacks sufficient diversity, a problem exacerbated by the fact that 81% of charities practice recruiting of trustees by word of mouth or personal recommendation (The Charity Commission, 2017).

There are a number of simple, proactive initiatives being used to encourage a more diverse talent pool to enter the application and selection process, including:

  1. Scheduling interviews in the evenings or weekends, so that those on lower incomes do not have to take time off from work to attend, which can be a significant barrier to entry for some.
  2. Having arrangements in place, or being ready to put them in place, should you need to provide translators or sign language interpreters, or provide audio, Braille or large print versions of documents.
  3. Making sure that the venue in which you hold your interviews is in a location that can be easily reached by all and is accessible for people with disabilities. Increasingly the use of video interviews can break down the barriers of availability and accessibility.
  4. Using alternative methods of recruitment, not just the ‘tried and tested’ channels that you have always used, which will always reach the same audience. A recruitment campaign targeted specifically at local communities or minority populations, for example, will require a break from the norm but will result in a greatly increased pool of diverse applicants.

    Takeaway
    Museums have it within their power to be more diverse and inclusive. Simple steps can be taken to achieve this, it just needs some creativity. The benefits are multitudinous.

    Download the complete chapter here:
    Next-Gen Thinking for Museum Recruitment.


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