As tech employers continue to bemoan the lack of skills available to them, look up published By the training firm Wiley Edge, once again, it shows how a hiring bias in favor of graduates is an approach that fails to find enough of the necessary skills.
The research found that 21% exclusively hire graduates from top universities, while another 39% said they are more likely to hire graduates from those elite institutions. A paltry 8% stated that they are considering all types of higher education qualifications – presumably to include BTEC and T-levels beyond.
However, at the same time, about a third (35%) of companies that consider all candidates equally say they struggle to hire junior software engineers, compared to 62% of companies that focus their recruitment on prestigious universities. Similarly, companies that hunt in elite pools of talent were 23% more likely to struggle to hire entry-level data scientists, and 28% more likely to have difficulty obtaining entry-level cybersecurity professionals.
Calculating the cost of elitism
The reluctance of those seeking entry-level technical staff to look beyond the corridors of elite universities when hiring is costing them on multiple levels. First, vacancies cost the employer money. It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much money because there are so many inputs – money spent on staffing firms, loss of production, impact on revenue, overtime cost to cover work, untapped assets, etc. There are also less tangible costs such as impact on morale of existing team members, risk of burnout, impact on customer confidence etc. If the vacancy is in the field of cyber security, the costs can be catastrophic.
While the costs will vary from one business owner to another, the impact has been long-term on overall economic growth Estimated in 2018 At £63bn a year – and that was before anyone had heard of COVID-19 or The Great Resignation.
Employers who only hire graduates incur another cost in the long run — that created by a workforce that is predominantly one demographic. A non-diverse workforce tends to be more unhappy and more flight-prone than its more diverse competitors. This carries a cost. But diverse teams also make better decisions. A group of people with similar backgrounds and similar views is more likely to agree with one another than a more diverse group. Ideas aren’t tested, arguments aren’t refined, and creativity is frustrated.
the Evidence That diversified companies make better decisions, innovate more, and make more money than their homogeneous competitors have amassed in recent years. There is plenty of evidence that groupthink can lead to horrific results throughout all of human history.
Despite the protests of those vocally critical of what they call the “diversity agenda,” (see also, Against Waking Up) most tech employers can tell which way the wind is blowing. Their customers are more diverse, and Generation Z is the most value-driven group by far, whose spending and hiring decisions are as likely to be influenced by ethics as financial considerations. Neither Generation Z nor the millennial cohort that preceded them No sign appears Become more socially, economically or politically conservative as they get older.
This is one of the driving factors for the growing dossier of ESG reports and DEI messages emanating collectively from the sector that can be summed up as “much has been done and much has been done”. They are definitely right in the second part.
These are not just graduates
It seems like an obvious screaming statement to indicate that if a company wants to quickly fill vacancies and increase the diversity of its workforce, it is likely to put some effort into recruiting from diverse geographies and organizations. However, this research indicates that it does just the opposite.
The more closely one looks at relying on graduates to fill entry-level technical roles, the more out of place it seems. The most obvious reason why top universities focus on technology is that they see it as a badge of quality. These are not just alumni, these are alumni of the Russell Group. But the quality is not guaranteed.
Graduates of elite universities are more likely than the general population to benefit from some favorable tailwinds — private education, cultural capital embodied by parents and institutions that value it, confidence, and some refinement. Of course, not many have had any of these benefits, and even if they did, that doesn’t necessarily make them unsuitable for entry-level tech roles. The point is, the search for talent in these pools to the exclusion of all others is not necessarily a foolproof path to high caliber candidates. Initiative, work ethic and raw potential can be found in Lots of placesif only employers were willing to look.
Talking to computing newly, Tony Lysac of the Software Institute explained why he advises tech companies to recruit in their area. This enables them to acquire skills at more competitive rates but also reduces attrition in the long term. When individuals see that they have been given a chance, they are more likely to stick around.
Super-values may be stolen or go elsewhere but in most cases, you will get loyalty and longevity.”
Universities are trying to improve the diversity of their entries, but this is very much a work in progress. Relying on them to hire simply perpetuates the lack of diversity in the tech workforce that nearly every employer publicly laments.
Becs Roycroft, Senior Principal at Wiley Edge, commented:
“By showing that many of the UK’s traditionally prestigious universities have their own struggles to improve diversity, it would be nearly impossible for companies to improve the diversity of their junior tech staff while only accepting graduates from these institutions.
“In order to achieve greater diversity at the entry level, companies must actively work to expand their talent pool, advertising their roles to a diverse group of people and encouraging them to apply. As an added bonus, they should find that doing so will also help them overcome the challenges of employment imposed by the persistent shortage of digital skills.”