Sustaining Diversity in Senior Executive Jobs During an Economic Downturn

Sustaining Diversity in an Economic Downturn

Senior Executive improving diversity in the work place

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!  Have you ever heard this expression??  This quote is usually attributed to a German writer, Thomas Murner, whose book contained a short chapter entitled “Das Kindt mit dem bad vB schitten”.  It may be a bit “old school”  to use this phrase, but it means that we want to make sure that we keep the important things while we are throwing out things that are not important to us. 

This phrase is particularly relevant in today’s economic environment.  None of us would question the fact that our economy has experienced a major downturn over the past year.  Further, none of us would question the negative impact that this environment has had in the executive search business.  Like other businesses, we have had to address the impact of double-digit unemployment, rising home foreclosures, dwindling investments and 401 K’s, as well as more red in our own bottom line.  In this type of economic environment, it is important that we don’t lose sight of an important priority for our own businesses as well as for our business clients and candidates.  That priority is diversity.  Let’s not throw baby diversity out with the murky bath water of an economic downturn.

"Effective diversity programs and hiring diverse candidates have a positive ROI."

We must maintain the priority of not only identifying the best possible candidates for our clients, but making an effort to assure that our clients are provided with a diverse candidate pool.  Research has shown that diversity pays off.  Effective diversity programs and hiring diverse candidates have a positive ROI.  In our current economic environment, our client companies will be tempted to draw back; to rely on internal referrals from people they know.  It may seem easier or more cost effective to not hire an executive search firm.  Rather than hire our firms, they will want to identify candidates from their often quite narrow circle of friends and professional acquaintances.  These networks typically include few, if any, diverse candidates.  As, executive search professionals, we are in the position to let our clients know that this behavior will be counter productive in the long run. 

More now than ever, we, as executive search professionals, are positioned to share information on how our client companies can benefit from a diverse workforce and how these differences allow them to more effectively address new markets and remove that red ink from their bottom line.  Let’s not destroy the good diversity work that we have done over the past few years by throwing it aside with the murky waters of this economic crisis.  Diversity is more important now than ever: hiring a diverse employee base, diversity representation on boards of directors, diversity in senior management positions.  Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  

Nelvia M. Brady, Ph.D, is a guest writer for the BlueSteps Blog and is a well accomplished diversity expert. Dr. Brady served 10 years as Senior Vice President at Carrington & Carrington, Ltd., one of the nation’s premier executive search firms recruiting diverse professionals for middle management and senior executive positions.  This experience led Dr. Brady to perform the role of Director of Ethnic Diversity for the Trinity Christian College.

Carrington & Carrington 
Building Strength Through Diversity

Carrington & Carrington Ltd. is an diversity executive search firm devoted to strategic staffing and a member of the AESC. We are a full-service, retained executive search firm that specializes in the recruitment and placement of African-American, Hispanic and other diverse professionals. Our mission since 1979 is to support each corporate client in solving strategic business issues by providing the highest quality diversity talent in a timely and professional manner.

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