Top 10 Focus of May: # 3 – Take Steps to Increase The Diversity of Your Applicant Pool

Since we released the Top 10 Things Employers can do earlier this year, we’ve heard from many of you that the most challenging Top 10 action item is diversifying your applicant pool. As difficult as it is, it’s one of the most important things employers can do.

In 2017, Black and Hispanic/Latinx people accounted for just over 25% of the metro region’s population, but only 12% of workers earning the regional average wage at the time of $63,080. We know that Colorado is getting more racially diverse, particularly among younger populations. To ensure a strong economy, we need to increase the diversity of our workforce to be reflective of our community and find ways to tap into the immense talent that many employers have yet to access.

As thousands of Coloradans enter the workforce upon graduation this month, Prosper CO wants to encourage employers to find ways to recruit diverse candidates and offer our support to your organization to successfully do just that. Here are a few strategies:

  • Change your process. Don’t go back to the same sources and job boards for candidates. Ask diverse members of your team where their network looks for jobs.
  • Mentor diverse talent to help them grow and advance in your organization or profession.
  • Partner with other organizations that can help you create internships or apprenticeships with the goal to hire, like Careerwise, universities and community colleges.
  • Consider roles within your company that might appeal to people who aren’t advancing in other industries, but who have relevant transferable skills and share those opportunities broadly.
  • Remove artificial barriers, like four-year degree requirements, that serve as a proxy for other skills to open up your candidate pool and focus on skill-based hiring instead.
  • Become a fair chance employer and expand your applicant pool by hiring people who may have had some contact with the justice system but have the skills to be successful working for you.
  • Help workers build their resumes by offering them the opportunity to work in short-term, paid positions.

Please keep sharing your ideas with us by email at lorena.zimmer@denverchamber.org or post them to your social networks and tag #ProsperCO and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. We’ll add your strategies to our next newsletter.