Embracing sector diversity: The case for recruiting outside your industry

Diversity and inclusion are now widely recognised as essential components of a modern business’ set of values, also being found to be key contributors to organisational success. In our latest article, Jon Sleightholme explains how considering candidates from outside your sector could be a great way to increase your hiring strategy’s focus on diversity.

Hiring talent with relevant industry experience seems logical; it can reassure organisations that a candidate is more likely to be the right fit, as well as reduce the need for any additional training, saving the organisation time and money. However, what if we told you that by focussing purely on candidates with specific experience, you may actually be adding to your recruitment struggles?

While it might seem counterintuitive at first, recruiting individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences can bring a myriad of benefits to your organisation:

  • Fresh perspectives: One of the most compelling reasons to embrace cross-sector recruitment is the infusion of fresh perspectives. When individuals from different industries come together, they bring unique insights and approaches that can add real value to problem-solving and innovation within your company. A diverse team can offer a broader range of ideas and solutions, fostering creativity and pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking. At Connor, we have several clients in the charity and not for profit sector, where this has proved to be highly successful.
  • Increased adaptability: Recruiting from outside your sector can contribute to a more adaptable and resilient workforce. In an ever-changing global landscape, the ability to adapt quickly to new challenges is a crucial competitive advantage. Individuals accustomed to navigating diverse environments are often more agile and open-minded, making them valuable assets in what is a fast-paced and dynamic business world.
  • Richer skill set: Diversity in sector backgrounds also leads to a richer skill set within your organisation. Employees with varied experiences bring a diverse set of skills and competencies that can enhance the overall capabilities of your team. For instance, someone from the technology sector may bring valuable insights into data analysis and digital transformation, while a candidate from healthcare may offer expertise in regulatory compliance. This cross-pollination of skills can strengthen your organisation’s ability to tackle multifaceted challenges.
  • Employee engagement: Embracing cross-sector recruitment can positively impact employee engagement and satisfaction. When individuals feel that their unique skills and experiences are valued, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work. A diverse workplace that celebrates differences fosters a sense of belonging, which can lead to increased collaboration and a positive organisational culture.
  • A better reputation: Recruiting from different sectors can enhance your organisation’s reputation as an inclusive employer. Companies that prioritise diversity and actively seek talent from various backgrounds are more likely to be seen as forward-thinking and socially responsible, which can attract top talent, customers, and business partners who value diversity and inclusivity, adding value to the overall success and sustainability of your organisation.

Something to consider

For cross-sector recruitment to be successful, it’s essential to implement compelling and engaging recruitment attraction strategies. Highlighting transferable skills, providing targeted training and development programs, and fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture are key elements of a successful cross-sector recruitment initiative.

In conclusion…

Embracing diversity in experiences, perspectives, and skills can lead to increased innovation, adaptability, and employee satisfaction. In a world that values the strength of differences, organisations that actively seek talent from diverse sectors are better positioned to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape. As we continue to evolve, it’s time for businesses to open their doors to a broader range of talent, recognising that diversity is not just a trend or industry buzzword, but a catalyst for enduring success.

Is your organisation missing out on critical talent?

Many organisations approach recruitment with a bias towards industry experience and ignore candidates that possess the skills necessary to thrive in their organisation. AI’s involvement in recruitment may be worsening this problem, as programmes are told to automatically disregard CVs that don’t include relevant experience – no matter how promising they may otherwise be.

If you would like to find out more about how Connor’s recruitment services can support your business and your people, visit the Recruitment Project Partnerships page on our website, or give us a call on 01491 414010.


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