At Aquent, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment, where different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives are valued and everyone can contribute, grow their careers, and thrive.
We believe diversity goes beyond ethnicity and gender. It includes things that are visible and those that are not—a person’s age, ability, neurodiversity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and so much more. These differences help create a more dynamic and innovative workplace. We embrace them all and are on a journey to do better and build diverse, equitable & inclusive practices into every recruitment and business process.
Our Dutch & UK Diversity Councils mapped out their local objectives at the beginning of 2021 after our CEO & Founder John Chuang launched the Social Justice Initiative in 2020. Our local focus has been on education, training, diversifying our networks, using anonymised CVs & gender-neutral job descriptions. Great to be taking focused action for sure!
However, fast forward to today and we’re struggling to measure the impact of our diversity efforts. Why? Because we didn’t have the demographic data about our Talent network to begin with. We simply recognised that we could do better at engaging and presenting underrepresented Talent to our clients.
If you don’t know where the problem is, how can you solve it?
In Dutch the saying goes “meten is weten” - to measure is to know. So... plainly put we needed to start with data. Data is critically important to the success of any DEI program, and yet it’s a big challenge for so many companies as so few are collecting demographic data.
Joint research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) revealed that two in five employment businesses (41%) do not record data on the demographic makeup of their own workforce and leadership teams - let alone the talent they represent to their clients.
Without that clear understanding of our network, it’s impossible to identify demographics that are under-represented when submitting to clients. Having applicant data also reveals patterns where candidates aren’t progressing to the next step or where they’re deciding to step back from the process.
It’s sensitive, but important.
Collecting demographic information is highly sensitive information and yet a crucial part of every company's DEI efforts. We not only want to understand our clients goals, we want to have a real impact across the entire recruitment process and ensure everyone has a seat at the table. By collecting anonymised & aggregated talent data we can evaluate our ability to recruit diverse candidates and help our clients evaluate their hiring process.
What are we collecting and how?
Aquent in the UK & Netherlands now provides Talent with the option to share their demographic data with us in support of our diversity and inclusion efforts. Talent have the choice to provide their data when they apply for a job or at a later stage via their MyAquent account and, while Talent have the option not to answer the questions being asked, we value any information they are comfortable sharing.
Our focus for monitoring is centred around six dimensions of under represented groups. This includes gender, age, ethnicity, neurodivergence, disabilities or chronic illness and the LGBTQ+ community.
We based the data collection principles on the 6 data collection model proposed by ENAR to ensure that personal data protection standards are met in respect of EU and Dutch national legislation and to clearly rule out any kind of ethnic profiling. The principles include:
- Voluntary participation
- Confidentiality & anonymisation of data
- Informed consent
- Community participation
- Multiple grounds/identities
Demographic data is not seen by anyone involved in the selection process and no information will be published or used in any way that allows individuals to be identified. All candidates submitted to clients are submitted based on how well their skills and experience meet the job requirements.
Our aim is that our workforce will be truly representative of all sections of society and that each employee or talent feels respected and able to give their best. Hiring inclusively & with diversity is not only the right thing to do, it’s also essential for delivery on a sustainable strategy for growth in any organisation. Together, we have the power to enrich the employee experience through shared equality best practices.