The State of Diversity in Recruiting

Lauren Shufran

Lauren Shufran

Content Strategist

Posted on

February 2, 2021

Gem's "State of Diversity in Recruiting" is out. We’re grateful for those of you who were willing to take this survey to give us a better understanding of the ways DEI is being taken seriously, and thoughtfully, right now.

For many of us, 2020 will be a year for the record books: one in which we were tested, asked to do some deep internal work, and forced to grow—not only because of the pandemic, but also because of the renewed visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of the police. We were asked to pay attention to the inequities that COVID-19 revealed as people of color experienced higher infection and mortality rates than their white counterparts, as women and people of color saw the greatest number of job losses, and as remote working conditions made inclusion efforts even trickier to follow through on. As talent acquisition professionals, we were invited to ask ourselves if we haven’t privileged representation and failed to acknowledge how crucial belonging, equity, and inclusion are to the remarkable teams we’re working so hard to build. 

At Gem, we contended with the same questions many of you had—and hopefully continue to have—about our culture, our core values, and our blind spots. We were, and are, in constant conversations with both our customers and other talent acquisition professionals about all-things DEI: from how to ensure accountability among hiring managers, to how to check our own unconscious biases, to how to invest in the psychological safety of Black and underrepresented employees, to how to get executive buy-in for diversity hiring initiatives, to how to ensure the most inclusive and equitable hiring practices we possibly can. So late last year, we thought we’d finally formally ask some of those questions and offer that data more publicly, giving recruiting professionals a sense of what the diversity landscape currently looks like.

Gem’s “State of Diversity in Recruiting” is based on a survey that ran from November 4 through November 30, 2020, which over 500 talent acquisition professionals—from Sourcers and Recruiters, to Directors of Talent, to Talent Ops, to VPs of People, to Founders and CEOs—responded to. Respondents came from small businesses, large enterprises, and everywhere in-between. Here are a few of the things we learned:

  • 62% of talent acquisition teams created new diversity initiatives and set new diversity goals in 2020. Respondents mentioned everything from implementing outreach goals, to expanding top-of-funnel diversity through sourcing, to building out internal DEI teams, to implementing the Rooney Rule +1, to bootcamp programs, to better measurement and tracking. (Check out the asset to hear more from recruiters—in their own words—about what changed for them.)

  • Around 60% of TA teams currently track diversity metrics, though only about half of those teams slice their data by role and department 

  • More than 40% of talent leaders plan to invest in technologies for diversity hiring efforts in 2021. Sourcing tools that let recruiters search for underrepresented talent made the top of the list.

  • 58% of sourcers and recruiters say their teams are hiring for diversity at the leadership level in 2021. In fact, “diversity in leadership” is the #1 initiative teams are implementing this year in order to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in their respective organizations.

We’re grateful for those of you who were willing to take and share this survey to give us a better understanding of the ways DEI is being taken seriously, and thoughtfully, right now. We hope this resource gives you a sense of what 2020 looked like for your peers when it came to diversity, and what they anticipate 2021 will look like for their respective teams. Do they have—or do they plan to hire—dedicated diversity sourcers? Do they already have executive buy-in for diversity hiring? What practices do they plan on including in their hiring processes in 2021 to make those processes more equitable? What do they think their biggest barriers will be to increasing diversity in 2021? Download The State of Diversity in Recruiting for both a bird’s-eye view and detailed observations from your peers. 


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