Tackling Recruitment Inequality with Jo Major
Did you know?
Only 51% of applicants from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants.
Searching and applying for jobs is a daunting prospect for anyone. This can be amplified for those who face online barriers when reading and understanding online information.
We caught up with Jo Major, who has recently launched Diversity in Recruitment to drive equality, diversity, and inclusion onto the agenda of recruitment businesses, no matter their size or capacity. Previously working at APSCo (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies), as Head of External Relations, Jo discovered that many recruitment businesses wanted to attract a diverse talent pool but did not know where to start.
Diversity in Recruitment’s website now provides Recite Me online accessibility and language tools to support those with additional needs online. Features include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options.
What has been the career journey that has brought you to where you are today?
I have worked in the recruitment industry for over 21 years, 17 years as a billing recruiter before I moved into L&D where I worked for an inspiring manager who was super passionate about equality, diversity, and inclusion. He gave me the fire in my belly to educate myself and others on how you can tackle inequality in the recruitment process.
What is the reason behind setting up Diversity in Recruitment?
I decided that I needed to do more across the sector, especially when it came to helping small recruitment businesses and independents get to grips with D & I. My role at APSCo gave me the opportunity to look across the industry as a whole and discover the many recruitment businesses that wanted to do something but didn’t know where to get started.
What services do you provide at Diversity and Recruitment?
It’s a blend of advice and training. I have designed three different programmes that will support start-ups, recruitment teams, and business leaders with Diversity and Inclusion. Training is centred around the role of a recruiter; we look at the complete 360 recruitment lifecycle and help recruiters weave inclusion into everything they do.
Why is it important to you to encourage businesses to provide a diverse and inclusive recruitment process?
I believe that everybody has the right to a fulfilling and successful career – but I don’t think the services of recruiters are accessible to everyone. We have a huge amount of power and influence over the UK jobs market, collectively we can turn the dial (part of a quote from that inspiring manager I mentioned!) on under-representation by creating an environment where every person is welcome and has equal opportunity to secure great work. We need to first understand the barriers minoritised and under-represented candidates face and then do the work to break them down.
Why is it important to you to provide an inclusive online experience with the Recite Me accessibility toolbar?
Because an in-accessible website should NEVER be the reason someone is unable to apply for a job. For so long we have designed websites to sell our services to clients, we are recruiting in very different times now and that requires a different approach. Your website is the shop door to your business, you should make it clear that everyone is welcome and make sure that door can be opened by everyone. For me, you can’t have a commitment to D & I if your recruitment services remain exclusively accessible to some candidates and closed to others.
What do you hope for in the future of the recruitment industry?
The industry is standing on the edge of change and with the insight, tools, and confidence it can do something very powerful. Under-represented and minoritised candidates are not a fad, fashion, or hot topic – this is about making sure that someone’s identity isn’t a reason they don’t get to apply for a job right! I am so encouraged by the work of so many recruiters and business leaders who have reached out to me since I launched Diversity in Recruitment – it has just reinforced my belief that we are looking ahead to what the industry will look like tomorrow.
To find out more about the importance of Diversity and Inclusion roles within the workplace explore our latest in-depth support blog on how Diversity & Inclusion Professionals Champion Web Accessibility...