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Searching for Diverse Talent in the Age of Data Privacy

By Universum on 26/02/2021

By Dave Allende Head of Digital Marketing for Universum Americas

Over the past several years, there has been a significant shift in desire for Diversity and Inclusion in both Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing strategies. Universum has worked with many companies looking for diverse talent in groups such as Female Engineers, African American Teachers, Latinx Data Scientists, etc.  All in the pursuit of making sure that diverse talent of all backgrounds is given a fair chance at working for their employer of choice. But in the age of data privacy and restricted “special categories,” how do you identify candidates by such personal demographic characteristics as their gender identity or ethnic background?

Back in 2016, you could set up a Facebook campaign targeting 25–34-year-old Indigenous parents with children under the age of 5 who worked in law enforcement and were fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. You could separate the campaign into different Indigenous nations such as Lenape, Lakota, or Apache and then target them by individual zip codes. Today, with laws such as GDPR or CCPA, things have changed. Restrictions have increased and there are more limitations for filters on audiences which makes it almost impossible to define an audience the way we could in 2016. Talent Acquisition teams are now called upon to place data privacy at the core of the recruiting process.

These changes don’t mean that recruitment marketing have to lower its KPIs or companies have to give up on recruiting with a Diversity & Inclusion objective in mind. In fact, companies don’t have to adopt new platforms for their recruitment marketing strategies. It all comes down to accessing and analyzing first-party data.

Understanding diverse talent

Understanding your target audience is crucial to developing messages that can resonate with their interests.  Before you think of the platforms and channels for your strategy, you must understand your target group’s motivations, habits and expectations. The first step in any recruitment campaign is to define the primary target groups based on factors such as location, background, field of study, skills, or preferences. Then, a thorough analysis provides a deep understanding of any talent group.

Let’s analyze a hypothetical case in which a company is actively looking to attract female talent majored in STEM fields and located in the United States. To achieve this goal, Universum has first-party data of more than 50,000 young professionals across the United States. For 2020, the annual Universum’s survey talent reports that the three most important employment attributes for female talent in STEM are:

  • Ethical Standards
  • Inspiring purpose
  • Secure employment

These attributes give a snapshot into this specific talent group’s priorities. A company associated with these attributes is most likely to be among that group’s first options.

Additionally, Universum data gives a detailed idea of the best ways to communicate with different target groups. Following the hypothetical case, the United States 2020 Universum talent survey found that 66% of African American students use social media to inform themselves about employers. We also found that 65% of this group are interested in finding valuable content about diversity and inclusiveness on digital channels.

Having this data when developing recruiting campaigns gives any company a major advantage in attracting specific talent groups. It is the starting point to creating messages that speak to their priorities, about the topics that are relevant for them, on the channels they use most. Furthermore, it could help to optimize any Employer Branding Proposition or EVP, based on its target group’s priorities.

Representation matters for diverse talent

To offer the best possible candidate experience, in addition to an authentic message, the content should be accompanied by powerful visuals. When your efforts are oriented to attract diverse talent, representation is more important than ever. Whenever possible, use real pictures of your workforce, share their stories, celebrate their success and don’t be afraid to show the human side of your organization.

Bear in mind that employer branding is not a short-term endeavor and that talent preferences change over time. This is especially true for 2021 as we are seeing drastic changes in talent’s mindset. One of the most relevant of these changes is related to social consciousness in which talent is expecting a strong social commitment by their ideal employers.

Dave Allende

Head of Digital Marketing for Universum Americas

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