Only 35% women professionals of C-suite leadership and even more startling numbers with BIPOC women

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday 8th March, new data from Bullhorn’s 2021 Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID) shows that women make up more than two thirds (65%) of the staffing industry worldwide, but only one third (35%) of C-suite leadership. The numbers are even more startling when considering Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) professionals:

  • BIPOC professionals make up 27% of the workforce but just 14% of leadership
  • BIPOC women make up 16% of the workforce but just 4% of leadership
  • Black professionals make up 6% of the workforce but just 3% of leadership
  • Black women make up 4% of the workforce, but just 1% of leadership

Vinda Souza, vice president of global communications, Bullhorn, says: “There are so few women, especially women of colour, in leadership positions in the recruitment industry that it would be an understatement to say there’s a long way to go. Recruitment agencies across the world need to enable and elevate BIPOC and women to spark meaningful and long overdue change.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives with UK recruiters

More than a third (34%) of UK recruiters say there is a diversity shortage internally at recruitment agencies. However, nearly half have DEI initiatives in place, either for candidates (6%), internally (22%) or both (22%).

Vinda says: “Diversity initiatives are great for increasing awareness, but they’re increasingly becoming a tick-box exercise. The learning that comes from these initiatives needs to start playing out on the ground – clients must see recruitment agencies taking diversity quotas and initiatives seriously so they can trust them to provide a truly diverse candidate list.”

Finding and placing diverse candidates in the UK

More than two fifths (44%) of recruiters say that there is a diversity shortage in talent pools. More than half say that either some or most of their clients request shortlists of diverse candidates (54%).

“It’s interesting that despite increased conversations about diversity, even during the pandemic, the number of clients asking for diverse shortlists remains the same as last year. Diverse workforces are good for business. If recruitment agencies can take charge of this issue internally, they will find it easier to create more diverse candidate shortlists for their clients – which is exactly what they need if we want to see meaningful changes in the workforce.”