75% of Gen Z Candidates Consider Company D&I Efforts When Deciding Whether to Apply

How much do candidates today really care about what your company is doing to make strides in diversifying the workplace?

In today’s professional landscape, most companies can agree: The future of work needs to reflect the future of the workforce. That means that as populations continue to become more and more diverse, representation at the professional level needs to rise as well. However, most workplaces are still behind on these goals, underscoring an urgency to progress on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives, especially for the incoming generation of workers. In fact, that incoming generation is demanding it.

In a recent report on Diversity in the Workplace, we surveyed more than 2,600 juniors and seniors ahead of the fall 2022-23 recruiting season to determine how traditionally underrepresented talent is approaching the new recruitment landscape. That includes how much candidates today value company D&I efforts, and what actions matter to them most.

Read on for some of the highlights on this topic, and download the full report to delve into other aspects of the job search and hiring process, such as reneges, candidates experience, and workplace preferences here

75% of candidates would reconsider applying for a role due to unsatisfactory company D&I efforts

Generation Z — the newest entrants to the workforce — are the most diverse generation to date, and its members are putting pressure on employers to make strides in building a more inclusive workplace environment. In fact, when we surveyed students in August, we found that 75% of early career talent would reconsider applying to a role at a company if they were not satisfied with its D&I efforts.

Broken down by gender, we found that female candidates are more likely to reconsider applying to a company due to unsatisfactory D&I efforts, with 81% of women agreeing with this sentiment, compared to 68% of men. 

Women of color are the most concerned with company D&I efforts when it comes time to apply for roles

While we mentioned that women care significantly more about a company’s commitment to D&I than men when it comes time to apply for jobs, we also found that — not surprisingly — this is especially true for women from underrepresented groups (with 85% of Black women and 87% Hispanic women saying they would reconsider applying due to poor D&I efforts, compared to 78% of White women and 81% of Asian women). 

Looking at male candidates, our data shows that Black men care the most about a company’s D&I efforts when applying for roles (as 77% of those candidates say they would reconsider submitting an application), followed by Asian men at 73%. About 60% of White and Hispanic men agree that a company’s D&I efforts have an effect on their decision to pursue an open role, making them the least likely of any group (across all genders, race & ethnicities) to forgo an application if they are unsatisfied with a company’s D&I actions. 

Overall, it’s clear D&I matters to candidates entering the workforce today. When evaluating the steps your organization has taken to both welcome in more diverse talent, it’s important to acknowledge what resonates with internship and job-seekers in this market, and what actions might fall short of showcasing a true commitment to D&I.

Candidates today want to see themselves represented in their employers

When it comes to which company D&I efforts matter most to candidates today, our data shows that Gen Z wants to see that companies are hiring and nurturing a diverse slate of candidates. Specifically, we found that both male and female candidates said that among the most important actions they consider when analyzing a company is whether they would interact with a diverse set of individuals throughout the hiring process. Despite this being the top choice across gender, women were significantly more likely to place value on meeting employees from all backgrounds during the hiring process (with 78% of women selecting this factor, compared to 60% of men).

Note: This graph has been cropped. You can find the full list of D&I efforts and their rankings here.

Looking at the impact of a company’s D&I actions on candidates of different races & ethnicities, we discovered that Black women are the most likely to consider the makeup of employees they would interact with during the hiring process. We also found that Black women are significantly more concerned with a company’s commitment to pay transparency and equity across groups, with 70% of those candidates seeing this action as critical to a company’s D&I efforts, compared to half of White women, 55% of Asian women, and 45% of Hispanic women. Less than 40% of men in every group selected this action as important. It’s important to be transparent with diverse talent about salary expectations and be sure your offers are competitive relative to the market.

Note: This graph has been cropped. You can find the full list of D&I efforts and their rankings here.

With 75% of all candidates agreeing that they would reconsider applying to a company if they were not satisfied with its efforts to diversify the workforce, it’s clear that D&I matters to Gen Z. It’s important now to reevaluate the picture you paint for candidates, including what your employee base looks like. Plus, candidates today judge a company’s D&I efforts by the diversity of the employees they will interact with during the hiring process. But it doesn’t end there. Candidates are also evaluating the diversity of your leadership team and other teams — so be sure you’re keeping a close eye on how diverse talent moves through your organization.

Want to learn more about traditionally underrepresented talent entering the workforce? Download our full report here.


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