A holistic approach to increasing applications from skilled candidates within underrepresented groups
To assist UAL in being Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) leaders CJA were asked how the University could do more to attract candidates from all backgrounds, particularly those from communities that are underrepresented within the creative arts. Our starting point was to sit down with the relevant stakeholders within the University including Recruitment, Diversity, and Marketing Managers to ascertain what content was already in place to promote their diversity credentials. It quickly transpired there was a broad range of diversity and inclusion content in place including staff testimonials and a wide range of policies to support staff from all backgrounds. However, analysing the site traffic CJA found less than 0.01% of visitors were viewing UAL’s EDI content.
CJA tested the candidate journey on the site and found that to arrive at any of the related pages required significant navigation across the site, hence the low visitor numbers. The first port of call was therefore to improve the user experience within UAL’s career pages to ensure relevant EDI content could be easily accessed by candidates. This simple change alone saw a major uplift in terms of traffic to the pages and an increase in the diversity of applications.
Our next step was to review external activity to look at how the number of high-quality applications, particularly from underrepresented communities, could be increased further. Our performance data, which continues to challenge preconceived assumptions, evidenced that previous attempts by the University to use EDI specialist job boards rarely produce meaningful results. This is mainly because candidate behaviour (regardless of background) when searching for jobs is to search for jobs on platforms that provide the largest choice within their chosen career specialism first, and then explore wider company credential afterwards, not the other way around.
CJA developed a phased creative campaign strategy which incorporated innovative use of social media to target talented lecturers and creative industry professionals, whilst also evidencing the diversity across UAL’s workforce.
When it comes to meeting and delivering on creative briefs, being assessed and approved by the University of the Arts London, ranked 2nd in the world for creative education (QS World University Rankings by subject 2019) is a strong testament in our ability.
The campaign resulted in a further uplift in high-quality applications from all sections of the creative and higher education community. In comparison to the University’s previous approach and use of media, the cost to drive relevant traffic to their site dropped from £225 per candidate to £1.19. Combined with the innovative use of social media, CJA continues to advise on job descriptions, application processes, and the end to end candidate journey.
When it comes to ensuring your workforce represents the diverse communities your organisation serves there is not a single solution. It requires a holistic approach covering all aspects of the employer marketing mix, ranging from job descriptions, attraction and candidate assessment, through to onboarding and beyond.