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| 1 minute read

Establishing targets for the hiring of under-represented talent - for or against?

The Football Association in the UK have confirmed that football clubs are failing to hit ethnicity and gender targets.  In The Guardian article published yesterday, it confirmed that “ the third year of the Football Leadership  Diversity Code (FLDC), a voluntary agreement established by the FA and signed up to by 56 clubs form the Premier League, English Football League, Women's Super League and Women's Championship, has shown ”slower progress than hoped", according to Mark Bullingham.

This blog is not about the FA per se, but I'm using the above  to draw attention to the topic of establishing hiring or employee representation targets - is it a good thing or can it lead to unintended consequences, as  laid out by this Forbes article published earlier this year?  On the flip side this Parker Review update demonstrates the positive impact, with a focus on targets to drive greater ethnicity representation in the FTSE350. 

I need to declare at this stage that I am a proponent of targets as I believe that they help to drive the right outcome in a corporate DEI strategy.  Let me outline why I think this way:

  • Establishing a target helps to establish am objective, challenging and achievable way forward, for an organisation to drive progress
  • It's imperative that the agreed target is not developed in isolation, it needs to be based on detailed data analysis of current representation in the business versus available government census data, highlighting where there are gaps
  • Establishing a target only, won't drive change, it has to be supported by a range of initiatives that will drive the right action eg. targeted outreach programmes, support of employee resource groups, reverse mentoring and sponsorship programmes etc.
  • It enables cross organisation support, at all levels of the business, in making progress toward the target
  • It provides clear accountability - the target should not be owned by Human Resources or the DEI function, it's a business accountability and then the right level of commitment will be directed from the CEO and Board.

I know that this is a contentious topic and it often generates lots of debate in the DEI circles that I am part of.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the benefits (or not) of establishing targets to drive great representation of under-represented talent.

Football clubs failing to hit ethnic and gender diversity targets, reveals FA


diversity equity inclusion