How employers should communicate their social justice and progressive values to job seekers

Posted February 13, 2020 by

The conventional wisdom is that the older you get, the more conservative you get. But better analysis shows that how progressive or conservative your generation is has more to do with when they came of age than your current age. Generations that came of age when conservativism was fashionable, such as during the Reagan Administration, tend to stay conservative as they age. And generations that came of age when progressiveness was fashionable, such as during the Obama Administration, tend to stay progressive as they age.

Today’s youngest job seekers — members of Gen Z — came of age during Obama’s presidency, and tend to be more progressive than previous generations. They have a greater interest in working with companies that place a high value on gender pay equity, salary transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. How should employers communicate these values to job candidates in an authentic way?

Authenticity by employers is important to all candidates, not just the youngest members of the workforce. But the youngest members also tend to be amongst the savviest in finding accurate information, so employers may be able to more easily fool older than younger candidates, but all deserve accurate information.

At College Recruiter, we remind employers of the expression that a picture is worth 1,000 words but then build on that to tell them that if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 1,000 pictures. Use video to communicate your corporate values and do so using short stories by actual employees. 

Do you encourage the creation and active participation in employee resource groups such as those for members of LGBTQ communities? If so, record a very short video and then share that on your YouTube channel and elsewhere. 

Have you undergone an audit to ensure that your compensation is equitable across gender and other lines? If so, record a very short video and then share that too.

Today’s grads, as compared to past generations, are more inclined to care about concepts like diversity, inclusion, equal pay for women, instead of just what their own salary and benefits will be. College Recruiter has been helping students and recent graduates find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs since 1994 and so we’ve seen a lot of changes. One of those changes is the heightened desire by those mostly younger candidates to do work that benefits society rather than just their bank accounts. The reasons are numerous, but their education and the economy are two of the most important. Regarding education, today’s young people are taught more about diversity, climate change, and other societal issues when they’re in primary and secondary schools and so they know and care more about these issues than previous generations. Regarding the economy, it is pretty easy for them to find a job and so they’re better able to be choosy. If you graduate into a recession, you’re going to feel fortunate to be able to get any job and so you take it even if the employer’s values don’t align well with yours. But if you have the choice of five jobs, you’re able to weigh factors like salary against social good and many will take less salary in return for doing work that benefits society as a whole.

More companies are being transparent around salary and hiring decisions to address these issues and young workers are reacting as you would expect: they’re more inclined to seek and accept employment from employers who are more transparent about their compensation and hiring practices. Fortunately, more companies are being more transparent around salary and hiring decisions and we’re advocates for that, but “more” does not mean most. A quick look at the job posting ads on just about any job search site will reveal that the vast majority of job ads do not disclose the salary, which we feel is counterproductive both to the candidate and the employer. Job search sites see a higher quantity and quality of applications to jobs that disclose salary ranges. The only justification for an employer not disclosing salary is their desire to underpay a candidate. If the employer wants to pay fairly for a role, then they should know before advertising it what a fair range would be and they should publish that as part of the job listing ad. If a candidate meets the basic criteria but not all, then the hiring manager should be able to explain that to the candidate when offering them a salary toward the bottom of the range and the hiring manager should be able to explain what the candidate needs to do in order to be paid more, such as accumulating X years of experience with a particular piece of technology. 

It is one thing for an employer to value diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is another thing for their recruiters and hiring managers to discuss such topics during the hiring process. Many employers have made great strides in diversifying their applicant pool, yet still overwhelmingly hire candidates who are not diverse. Why? Because many of the hiring managers are still reluctant to hire people whose backgrounds, thought process, etc. differ from their own. But study after study demonstrate that the more diverse a workforce, the more productive that workforce is and so hiring manager who consciously or unconsciously resist diversity are undermining the efforts of their organizations to improve the productive of their workforce and no employer should employ a manager who does that. Hiring managers need to be educated about the productivity benefits of diversity and embrace those. If they’re unwilling or unable to do so, then their employers should bring in hiring managers who are able and willing to recruit and retain workforces which are as productive as possible. 

As the United States workforce becomes increasingly diverse, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to expand their talent pools so that they have access to more diverse candidates. Employers who look at their top performers and then want to hire more people with similar attributes are condemning themselves to a non-diverse workforce as everyone in that workforce starts to look more and more alike. If all of your top salespeople come from the same fraternity, it is tempting to only hire people from that fraternity. That begs the question, however, as to whether top salespeople — perhaps even better than the ones you have now — might be found elsewhere. Could they be women? Could they be people who aren’t members of fraternities or sororities? Might they attend schools from which you’ve never hired people? From majors different from those you’ve targeted? Just because candidates with certain backgrounds have worked well for you in the past does not mean that those are the only backgrounds that will work well for you in the future, or even will be the backgrounds that will work the best for you in the future.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Advice for Employers and Recruiters, Career Advice for Job Seekers, Industry News and Information, Salary, Scholarships and Finances | Tagged