How Opportunity Creates Diversity: A Lesson From The Emmys

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"The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity, you cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."

Actress and producer Viola Davis said these words as she accepted her Emmy for best actress. The first African American to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama, Davis delivered an acceptance speech that highlighted the lack of diversity in Hollywood"”but this issue is by no means limited to the entertainment industry.

Why Diversity Matters

According to the newly released Women in the Workplace Study, women are still vastly underrepresented in every level of the corporate hierarchy. Based on the progress over the past three years, it will take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level and more than 100 years for gender equality at the C-suite level.

Without diverse leadership, companies are prone to blind spots that limit their effectiveness in everything from product design to marketing. For example, the keynote presentation at Apple's recent product event. A thoughtful essay on Medium, written by a colleague at GoodHire's parent company, Inflection, points out how Apple's lack of women and minority leadership led to a disappointingly stereotypical portrayal of both men and women during the event.

Helpful Recruiting Strategies

Attracting women and other minorities involves creating opportunities. Etsy, for example, launched the "Etsy Hacker Grants" initiative, which helped the company grow the number of women engineers by almost 500% in one year.

The Hacker Grants initiative provides scholarships to talented women engineers enrolling in the Hacker School, a three-month hands-on course to teach people to become better engineers. The company found that the grants acted as a sort of invitation. By showing that the company valued female talent, it quickly began attracting more.

Trish Healy of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management), provides crucial tips for recruiting and diversifying your workforce including authenticity and providing opportunities. Healy explains that balancing the gender scales requires more than simply saying you value diversity.

Healy also details the value of displaying diversity in your organizational culture. You will attract the right candidates to apply if you accurately portray your company's culture, which also helps you determine if the candidate will fit in. Don't just hire a woman to hire a woman; make sure the candidate's experience, skills, and personality mesh well with the position and the culture.

Additionally, women are hesitant to accept positions if they are unsure of their opportunity to grow and advance in a role. Advertise successful women in your company who contribute to your employer brand in a meaningful way will attract more woman candidates to apply. Trish recommends creating a "Day in the Life" series for candidates to see how they would fit into the organizational structure.

Inflection has a "Day in the Life" series to provide insights on the company culture, the opportunities for all employees, and employee engagement opportunities. Efforts like this and our Women@Inflection program have helped recruit more women to apply for positions and ultimately, get hired for roles they are qualified for. For example, the previous class of college recruits was comprised of 60% women. Efforts like these will help attract more diversity to apply and more qualified candidates to be hired.

Interested in learning more about tools that can help your recruiting and hiring process? Check out our website to start building great teams today.

Lauren Small

Lauren Small


Lauren Small is a content and social media expert who writes about hiring, onboarding, and HR best practices. Lauren comes by her HR insight honestly, having observed the culture at diverse employers Amazon, HubSpot, and GoodHire’s parent company Inflection.

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