If you can’t understand why applicants applying to your job adverts are not diverse, read this guide to get you down the right path to an inclusive workforce.

When all the interest in your adverts identify with or belong to a specific social group, you need to change something. Although this may be the result of a number of societal issues, there are ways to diversify your candidate pool. 

We have listed a few in this tailored guide so you can consider which mistakes you are making and how you might fix them. 

Start with your current employees 

As outlined in our pages on improving EDI in the workplace and developing an inclusive work environment, diversity and inclusion start from within. If your company culture is not inclusive then those from the outside will see your efforts as tokenistic and not genuine.  

The best way to attract diverse candidates is to demonstrate that they are welcome in your company. Therefore, if you want to start raising awareness for how inclusive your company culture is, you need to first make your company culture inclusive.  

With the rise of social media, an increasing number of people are able to find out just about anything. If you aren’t genuine about inclusion, people will find out and make your efforts at increasing diversity even more difficult. 

Publish your diversity progress

Once you have taken the appropriate steps towards establishing an inclusive company culture, you need to be transparent about your progress. Not only does this demonstrate that you acknowledge your failures but is an advert for your successes. 

For more information on how and why to monitor and publish your diversity figures, see our dedicated page 


There are a multitude of reasons why your recruitment and promotion processes are not leading to a diverse set of employees, some of which are out of your control. However, you can help your staff to acknowledge and understand they may be discriminating against certain identities or social groups, even when they don’t realise it. 

By taking time to discuss, test and train these employees, you can root out problems like unconscious bias 

Reconsider application criteria

Certain criteria in applications suggest that everyone has got to that point on a level playing field. By stating that someone has to have gone to a Russel Group University, for example, will provoke a host of good candidates to feel underqualified.  

Instead, many employers try to be more flexible in their applications and often look towards cover letters or employee references instead. For a more thorough discussion on this, see our guide to inclusive job adverts 

Advert location

If you keep advertising in the same places and it is giving you the same result, consider how those places may only be visible to a slither of the general population. If you want to diversify your applicants, you need to be found in a more diverse set of locations.  

This is not just significant for job adverts but also general brand awareness. If you are constantly trying to attract a specific type of customer or client, they are the only type of person who is going to thing you are an attractive company to work for.  

Transferable skills

A significant issue faced by many industries is the lack of current representation discouraging people from working towards that career from an early age. In turn, many candidates who are capable of filling the role have gone down a different path and are in a completely different industry.  

If you want to start attracting a diverse workforce, you need to consider skills and experience that are transferrable to your industry. If you expect everyone to have a particular pathway, you are only going to access those who identified with that path as a teenager or even younger.  

Furthermore, the recent rise in quality of apprenticeships and other forms of accessible learning make retraining a candidate with lots of potential easier than ever.