Recruiting, Talent

Can Relocating New Talent Hurt Your Chances for a Diverse Workforce?

If you’re looking to make your workforce more diverse and are considering recruiting talent outside of your city or state lines, you may want to think again—or at least take a different approach, otherwise, you run the risk of having a less diverse workforce.


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Andrew Chamberlain—Ph.D., Chief Economist at Glassdoor and Director of research at Glassdoor Economic Research—conducted a study on relocation. Chamberlain’s goal was to identify why certain jobseekers are more willing to relocate and what motivates them to move.

Location and Industry

Chamberlain found that a company’s location and the industry it is involved in play a huge part in a jobseeker’s willingness to relocate. For the tech industry, which is primarily located in Silicon Valley, most workers are willing—and in fact—actively looking to move to those areas.
However, for workers in low-wage jobs, like bartenders and retail workers, you’re going to have a more difficult time trying to convince those workers to pack up and move. Chamberlain says, “For employers hiring on-the-ground roles like these, it is a major challenge to hire from outside the local labor market.”
This news should come as no surprise to employers who are looking to relocate their business, but what about employers who are trying to recruit talent from a different region? Your best bet may be to just stay within city and state lines.

Diversity Suffers

The research finds that men are, by far, more willing to move for jobs. “Even after I controlled for job titles, education, and age, men were about 3.3 percentage points more likely to be applying to a job in another metro compared to women,” says Chamberlain.
Furthermore, the research shows that older, more experienced workers are significantly less likely to apply for jobs outside their home city. Chamberlain attributes this to the result of higher homeownership rates and deeper family roots among more experienced candidates. He suggests these are the most common reasons why this demographic is less willing to move.
To recap, we’ve got more men and younger works—who may not be as experienced—willing to relocate … now that doesn’t sound very diverse at all. So, what are recruiters and hiring managers expected to do?
“If employers want a diverse candidate pool, they will likely need to make a conscious outreach effort when it comes to applicants from outside metros,” says Chamberlain. “This is especially true for employers in industries with higher rates of mobile workers, including today’s fast-growing tech and engineering fields with disproportionately high rates of young, male job candidates.”

Highlighting Diversity in the Recruiting Process

If you’ve absolutely exhausted the candidate pool in your area and have no choice but to recruit talent from other regions, keep these tips in mind:

  • Show success. The first step is to showcase an employer’s diversity. Posting authentic photos of the employees that make up a workforce—not stock “Dick and Jane” photos—will show the organization’s diversity and culture to prospective employees.
  • Conduct robust intake meetings. When recruiters meet with hiring managers, they need to cover more than the needed skills and responsibilities for the position. The recruiter also should ask the hiring manager questions such as how the position should be described to someone outside the industry, what are some characteristics of an ideal candidate, and what are the personal attributes that will contribute to the candidate’s success. There are also some questions that should be left out, for example, asking if the hiring manager is looking for a specific degree or for candidates from a certain college can hamper efforts to attract a diverse candidate pool.
  • Watch your words. While recruiters understand that some subjects are not just taboo but actually are illegal in interviews, others on the hiring team may need training to make sure they’re creating an environment where a candidate feels comfortable.
  • Use new tools. Various tools are available, such as the augmented writing platform Textio, which flags words and phrases in a job posting that may discourage certain candidates.
  • Remove identifiers. Hiding names, addresses, and universities on résumés can help advance a more diverse group of final candidates.
  • Use work samples. Having candidates complete a work assignment is a good way to judge their potential without considering race, gender, or other diversity factors. The employer may also want to include some compensation for the time required.
  • Create and advertise affinity groups. Prospective employees are likely to appreciate employers that have formed groups aimed at supporting various special interests represented in their workforce.

If you’re looking to expand your talent pool beyond state lines, keep the above tips in mind when recruiting for diverse talent.

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