Sanctuary Graduates recently conducted research on the long term impact of COVID-19 and working from home on graduate prospects through surveying over 1, 000 new or soon to be graduates. This research has shown a disproportionate impact on BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) candidates and increased concerns amongst female and BAME candidates.
When asked about their primary concerns should working from home become the norm following the pandemic, we saw that nearly a third (31%) of BAME candidates listed lack of support as their main concern with remote working. This is more than double the number of white candidates, with only a sixth (15%) expressing this same concern with remote work.
This support includes:
Further, when asked where candidates would like to work going forward, just 16% of BAME candidates stated that they wish to work from home compared to 27% of white candidates saying the same. One therefore sees that support (technical, role and pastoral) is a key element valued by BAME candidates.
Thus, its potential loss due to remote working is more of a concern to said candidates than it is to white candidates. As such, ensuring this is in place and clear is entirely necessary in order to encourage and maintain the attraction of ethnically diverse student and graduate talent going forward.
This is not to say, however that employers are restricted from adapting to the normalisation of working from home in order to maintain ethnically diverse graduate talent applications. While only a fifth (21%) of white candidates said they wish to work from home half the week, more than a third (34%) of BAME candidates expressed this preference.
One therefore sees that while BAME candidates are more concerned about the potential lack of support should working from home become more common, having a mix of remote and in office work may offset some of these concerns.
Furthermore, one sees an increased concern amongst BAME candidates with working from home due to socioeconomic factors. For example, nearly a fifth (18%) of BAME candidates expressed lack of space as a predominant issue with working home, compared to just over a tenth (12%) of white candidates saying the same.
This increased impact of social mobility relevant factors upon BAME candidates in comparison to white candidates must also be noted by employers when considering how to progress with graduate role working conditions. This will not only ensure that new graduate and student hires are able to be effective in their roles, but will also impact upon the initial attraction of such talent, and retaining said talent upon hiring.
These differences in the concerns of BAME candidates compared to others suggests that a widespread move to long-term remote working could entrench disadvantages and hamper diversity.
While working arrangements will change, companies must have support systems, such as virtual platforms providing easy access to managers or colleagues, in place to address support concerns. Moreover, in order to not only ensure success in their new roles and retaining said talent, businesses must make these support systems are clear to candidates at initial stages when advertising their roles in order to attract and retain candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Sanctuary Graduates has successfully achieved this for our clients throughout COVID-19 advising said clients on best practice, and ensuring that students and recent graduates are aware of the systems employers have put in place.
We utilise our extensive campus connections, including diverse societies, departments, our database, and network of student Brand Ambassadors through digital marketing strategies to ensure these messages are clear. As such, the attraction of diverse candidates of different ethnicities, gender, and socioeconomic background has been maintained throughout lockdown.
Do you have any questions? Would you like to discuss our other findings from our research in more depth? Get in touch and let us know, we’d love to hear from you!