19/07/2021 - 09:49

How Perth businesses can attract more diverse talent

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In a market facing a shortage of female candidates, Perth businesses must adapt to attract top talent

Why attracting diverse talent could be the key to success, and how to recruit the best candidates for your business.

Businesses in Perth are seeking to recruit diverse candidates now more than ever. In the finance sector in particular, the demand for female talent has never been higher ­ but the talent pool seems to be shrinking.

“We’re noticing a shortage of female financial analysts in particular,” says Michael Jay of JP Search, a specialist Perth recruitment firm.

Scarcity of women in finance globally is apparent - in 2016, the CFA Institute found that women represented less than one in five CFA charterholders. But Perth is facing the additional challenge of talent being recruited to roles elsewhere.

“Candidates are being recruited to more appealing roles interstate or even overseas (for example London or New York), where the demand for diverse candidates is also very high,” says Mr Jay.

The rationale for wanting to hire diverse talent is clear. Research shows that businesses who place greater importance on diversity also notice increased employee satisfaction and better performance. 

Corporate social responsibility is also becoming increasingly important, and modern businesses need to reflect social change.

So how can Perth companies ensure they are able to recruit top female talent, in a market facing a shortage of qualified candidates?

Mr Jay believes more education is needed around career pathways for financial analysts in particular, and that collaboration between universities and businesses will be crucial for building a pipeline of local talent.

“University outreach, work placements and networking opportunities could help to close the gap between women studying finance degrees and women working as financial analysts in Perth,” says Mr Jay.

According to a recent study from Goldman Sachs, more Australian women hold university degrees than men. And yet, women remain underrepresented in the corporate workforce.  

“This is where recruitment firms like JP Search could play a role and help to change the landscape,” says Mr Jay.

“We can collaborate with universities to facilitate connections with industry, and potentially even steer students towards career pathways they may not have considered. These pathways may also be where there are skill shortages in Perth, making them a more desirable graduate.”

“We can also educate new graduates on opportunities and pathways available, and connect them to the organisations that are really leading the way when it comes to diversity.”

In the longer term, businesses will need to make some changes in order to recruit and retain top female talent.

Xavier Prevot, also of JP Search, says that the employee value proposition is important when it comes to appealing to a diverse range of candidates.

“Analysts often have a reputation of working long hours, especially in investment banking. If more Perth companies could offer flexible working options, such as working from home and increased parental leave, candidates may be less likely to look interstate or overseas for better opportunities.”

Perth is well known for being the most isolated capital city on earth, and in a post – COVID world, Mr Prevot says that the option of remote working is also something that businesses should be considering.

“Offering remote working is a great way to appeal to talent that might not otherwise be able to work for a Perth company,” says Mr Prevot.

“By being open to hiring remote workers who live overseas or interstate, companies could find that they discover talent with more varied experience, who have worked in bigger companies and across industries that are maybe not as established in Perth.”

The CFA Institute’s report also indicates that the appetite from both candidates and clients is for greater diversity. Moreover, where businesses have demonstrated ongoing commitment to racial and gender diversity, they are more likely to attract diverse talent in future.

“Companies need to ‘walk the walk’,” says Mr Jay.

“If candidates can see that the company they are applying for doesn’t have a 50/50 gender split in management, or at least show they are working towards it, then that could be a deciding factor in whether female candidates apply for that company or not.”

“There are some fantastic companies in Perth that are often in the news for their diverse management teams, and it is no surprise that they also attract the best talent.”

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