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Enough with the excuses – here’s where to start if you’re serious about finding diverse talent

'Rosie Recruits' sign a six-month contract in order to make sure 'they aren't walking into a dumpster fire.'

‘It’s too difficult to find talent’ is a common refrain. However, each day, there are new avenues for finding skilled employees from nearly every background. Here are three resources for agencies and brands to consider.

The advertising and marketing industry has pledged to diversify its employee base. Yet a repeated refrain is how hard it is to find qualified talent. This excuse is quickly becoming less valid considering, in the past month alone, a handful of new resources have debuted – with more on the horizon.

Given the nature of the creative profession, it should come as no surprise that the industry's talent have taken it upon themselves to assemble vital communities. There is a proliferation of grassroots sites where talent is self-organizing around ethnicity, gender and other identifiers. The goal is to unite together, elevate one another, and at the same time make it easier for agencies and recruiters to find them, says Work & Co. design director Fabricio Teixeira.

Teixeira launched Brazilians Who Design earlier this month to shine the spotlight on the strong talent coming out of his home country. Inspired by Womenwho.design, Teixeira says, “there are lots of micro-communities out there” and more to come. He created it on GitHub as an open source solution available to any group that want to create their own platform. Uruguayans Who Design and Italians Who Design are up next. With the rise of these communities, he says, “there are really no excuses” for recruiters.

Hue tries to fill in the network gap

Then there are new networks that have come upon the scene like Hue which launched last month. Hue is a platform built to advocate change by amplifying voices of color working in marketing, says its founder Fahad Khawaja. Hue encourages talent to join, network with mentors and for companies to post available roles.

“Despite more than $350bn spent annually on marketing and recruiting, racially diverse employee representation is rare at most companies,” says Khawaja. “This is even more pronounced at leadership levels, with progressively decreasing representation.”

Khawaja has identified a “network gap” as the key issue. “There is a myth that there is a talent pipeline problem. The reality is there is a network gap,” says Khawaja. “People go to the people they know in their own network. They are fishing in the same pond time and again. This pond grows into a sea of sameness. People of color have their own communities, but these two communities don’t connect. Hue serves a bridge to connect separate groups. The most important thing of all is access – people of color getting access to economic opportunity.”

Hue has been diligently signing up leaders with experience at a wide array of companies including Kimberly-Clark, Google, Delta, Spotify and LinkedIn.

We are Rosie protects recruits from ‘heading into a dumpster fire’

Then there are the more established staffing agencies like We Are Rosie, which has evolved to meet the needs of the times. Last month, it launched Rosie Recruits: which focuses on finding six-month contracts for employees. It has pledged that a minimum of 40% of its candidates will be Black, indigenous or People of Color. “Ideally we would like to provide access to as many marginalized communities as possible,” says founder Stephanie Nadi Olson.

We are Rosie has seen a 30% spike in people looking for jobs since March. It now has a pool of 6,000 candidates. Olson says, “Black and brown talent are always disproportionately affected by layoffs. The question is: how can this talent be made to feel that they are in control of their destiny? Not, ‘I need to bow down, so they recruit me and then I am marginalized right on out the door.’ There are plenty of companies in the press saying that they care about diversity and culture and then you get there and they have a dumpster fire behind the scenes. This allows our recruits to make an empowered decision.”

With all of the pledges for change in the marketplace, Olson is hoping it comes quickly. “The sooner we move from the talent serving the company to the company serving the talent, the faster we will be able to make meaningful progress in our diversity objectives.”

Brazilians Who Design’s Teixeira is hopeful that through the growth of specialized communities, great talent will be discovered. “Ideally we start to see some change in the numbers in terms of diversity in creative teams out there. Hopefully, that’s coming from some of our platforms.”

Hue’s Khawaja concludes, “the more noise we all create for change is better. If there are 100 groups making more noise, I’m all for it. I wish we didn’t have to exist.”

Resources to leverage:

We will continually update this piece with additional sources for finding diverse talent. E-mail us at us.editorial@thedrum.com

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