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3 ways employers can increase number of black students, grads they hire

Posted July 31, 2020 by

Two months ago, the Minneapolis Police Department murdered George Floyd only miles from my home.

Floyd was suspected of paying for groceries with a counterfeit $20 bill, which isn’t a crime unless he did so knowingly. Two police officers dragged him from his vehicle, spoke with him on the sidewalk, and waited for two other officers to arrive. Their arrival changed everything. The confrontation quickly escalated with the police officers throwing Floyd to the ground despite his full compliance. One stood guard while three others pinned him to the ground for almost nine minutes. During that time, one of the officers, sworn to protect and to serve, pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck to cut off his air supply. Floyd begged for his life, witnesses videotaped the encounter, and no efforts were made by the police to provide any medical assistance even after Floyd stopped breathing. The execution of yet another peaceful, unarmed, black man by the police touched off protests, riots, anger, and a lot of soul searching by many in our country.

Hopefully, one of the lasting impacts will be an increased awareness by employers of their discriminatory hiring practices. In some cases, the discrimination was unintentional, often referred to as unconscious bias. In other cases, it was intentional and, therefore, intentional. Whether unconscious or conscious, most agree that it must end and it must end now. Some employers have plans in place and have already made improvements. Others want to improve but don’t know what they need to change in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

Career service office management platform, Handshake, recently published a blog article that outlines three employer practices that are disadvantageous to black students. A review of each provides a roadmap for those employers who want to improve their hiring practices to be more inclusive of black candidates.

First, many employers will not consider candidates whose grade point averages are below are certain number. To many employers, using GPA as a requirement makes sense as they want to hire the best and brightest, but it begs the question: is GPA actually a good predictor of job performance? Turns out, it isn’t. Studies show that GPA poorly predict workplace productivity.

Eliminating GPA as a hiring requirement greatly increases the number of black candidates who qualify and, therefore, help make your hiring process more inclusive and, ultimately, will make your workforce more diverse and, therefore, productive. The difference is significant. A study by the U.S. Department of Education of recent graduates of four-year, Bachelors’ degree programs showed that 75 percent of whites had GPAs of 3.0 or higher but only 55 percent of blacks.

Second, employers should extend their hiring periods. Rather than only hiring for some roles in the fall, they should also allow students to apply in the winter. Why would this matter? Because black students tend to have far less wealth than white students, which results in far more black students working part-time while in school. Their additional obligations reduce their ability to be ready for the fall recruiting season. If your jobs are already filled with those who applied in September and October before a black student applies in November or even January, then you’re hiring process isn’t inclusive.

Third, be more transparent about your compensation. Many employers choose not to disclose salary, relocation, and other compensation-related items. If your family is wealthy enough to pay your student loans and perhaps even provide some additional spending money after graduation, what you’re paid might not matter that much. But if you’re going to need to cover all of those expenses and perhaps send money home to help your family, then what you’re paid matters greatly.

Employers who are not transparent about compensation receive far fewer applications from black than white students. According to Handshake, employers who disclose the annual salary in their job descriptions receive 13 percent more applications from black students. Similarly, employers who disclose their relocation assistance policies receive 36 percent more applications from black students.

College Recruiter is on the verge of publishing salary data for every job advertised on its site. We are doing so to help even the playing field by bringing more pay transparency to the employment of students and recent graduates. No longer will students with less information than others be paid less than they deserve, as all students will know what employers in their geographic area pay for that particular job. Employers will be encouraged to disclose what they pay for a particular job but, if they won’t, then we will publish the going rate for that job in that geographic area. We expect this new feature to be live in August.

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Posted in Advice for Employers and Recruiters, Salary, Scholarships and Finances | Tagged