Our Focus on Diversity and Inclusion in Executive Search

Diversity and Inclusion, as well as equality of opportunity, is at the heart of what Moloney Search does and we have specialised in diversity in recruitment for the last 18 years. We are seen as thought leaders, working across industry and frequently bringing our clients together to share best practice. We regularly lead and participate in industry events to ensure that we have a deep understanding of new and emerging solutions and share these insights both internally and with our clients.

Diversity for us is about diversity in its broadest context – not just gender, age or race but diversity of social backgrounds and diversity of thinking and outlook as well as diversity of experiences. As such we have undertaken studies on inclusivity, ageing in the workplace, digital talent and how best to access disabled candidates.

"...we have very conscious biases about who should sit
on a Board or within an executive team.”
Moloney Search Inclusion and Diversity Report 2020

Moloney Search was founded and continues to be led by women and as a firm we are diverse in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and social background. We find that candidates with a diverse make up find us ‘unthreatening, approachable and very practical to deal with’. To quote ‘we know that you are representing us in all our diverse make up as well as possible as you really understand us’.

The Proactive Steps We Take Around D&I

To ensure we deliver diverse shortlists to our clients we have spent the past 25 years honing our search methodology. We are renowned for the rigour of our research process and our methodology allows us to fully explore the diverse marketplace.

We take several steps to enable a diverse shortlist, beginning with our search strategy. We ensure that we have a complete understanding of the role, allowing us to distil the job description to its essential form and making it attractive and open to all. We also take the time during the briefing process to ensure that we know about diverse role models in similar roles in the organisation so that we can talk about them with candidates.

This understanding allows us to fully explore and target the widest pools of diverse candidates and make them feel truly included in the process, no matter their backgrounds. We also routinely focus the first two weeks of a search on diverse candidates who are as close to “on brief” as possible, an approach that has been shown to be market leading and very successful.

Our Diversity Network

In addition to our research process, we have immediate access to our own dedicated diversity pools and source trusted individuals with whom we have built long term relationships over the last 25 years. This enables us to identify diverse candidates who may otherwise be overlooked.

Whilst we always conduct fresh research, we find the use of our diversity pools opens an additional stream of strong candidates that we know and trust in order to help clients make the strongest hire.

Advertising and Ensuring Diversity

Advertising, be that traditional or via social media, can be a beneficial way to ensure your hire is seen by as many relevant people as possible. However, there is often intrinsic bias in the wording of these advertisements.

We use our established expertise in bias and wording to support any internal or external advertising and communications for you. We carefully craft adverts and recruitment packs so as not to screen out on well-qualified diverse candidates.

This advertising is then placed in appropriate places to maximise the pool of diverse candidates that can be targeted. To help with this we work with companies specialising in diverse work forces and candidates such as the Diversity Job Site Network.

Diversity Reporting

We find despite the long conversations many firms have around diversity, many organisations do not focus on reporting their statistics during or after a search.

Moloney Search rigorously monitors diversity data and statistics at all stages of the search process and we proactively share these with the client. This includes weekly updates which allows us to re-concentrate the focus of the search, should this be necessary. As we treat our clients Diversity & Inclusion agendas seriously and work in close partnership to support this, our rigour also extends to client data gathering. For example, during our work on Senior Public Sector appointments, we have obtained a 100% response rate for the completion of diversity forms on all the searches that we have worked on and we have been complimented on this by the Commissioners and clients that we have worked with.

Psychometric Testing and How This Can Help with Diversity

Psychometric testing can be used to complement search and can help protect diversity that may otherwise be lost through regular screening. It enables clients to see hidden benefits of candidates that may not be immediately obvious otherwise.

To this end, Moloney Search has worked with Cambridge University to develop a new tool: The Cambridge Code


The Cambridge Code

Developed in partnership with the University (with validation from Professors at Harvard and MIT). The Cambridge Code is a clinically-based digital psychometric tool that enables you to look at the subconscious drivers of an individual. The team set out to replicate the techniques and insight that you would normally only achieve when sitting with an Occupational Psychologist for 4-6 hours, assessing characteristics such as fit, potential, drive, resilience, and need for support.

We often complement search and assessment with the use of The Cambridge Code. This tool has the capacity to measure subconscious characteristics that are crucial to leadership but sometimes difficult to spot at interview.

Case Study of Our Diversity Work

We were approached by the University Secretary of Greenwich University (who we had previously worked with at King’s College London and City University) to conduct the search for three Independent NEDs to join the University Council. Given the student demographic at Greenwich, BAME representation was particularly important, alongside commercial finance, legal, education and property experience.

It was important that Greenwich felt reassured that they would be fully supported and directed by us throughout the process, which also straddled the transition into lockdown, requiring adaptability from all sides. They required a strong and diverse shortlist from which to appoint and to ensure we delivered on this requirement; we focused the first few weeks of the search purely on diverse candidates (in all of its guises). We find that through this methodology we can ensure we have enough time to fully map the market and identify as many strong diverse candidates as possible.

Such was the success of the search that the University decided to appoint a fourth candidate. Of the four candidates appointed, three were BAME and two were female.

Our Work with Diversity Forums

We frequently host cross client forums and seminars looking at diversity issues and enabling recruitment in specific groups. Our highly personalised approach makes us well placed to support the Diversity & Inclusion agendas of our clients and in fact help shape them. We carried out an 18-month study across both the Public and Private sectors on behalf of the Cabinet Office to inform the best practice guidelines for diversity in recruitment, which culminated in a set of Diversity Recruitment Guidelines which were rolled out across major Government Departments.  In 2018, we were asked to present  by the Office of Public Appointments on how to achieve diverse shortlists and we have subsequently attended round table discussions on this issue at the Cabinet Office.

“People think that D&I is meant to happen,
but that does not mean it is inevitable.”
Moloney Search Inclusion and Diversity Report 2020

D&I Reports and The Press

We pride ourselves by being at the forefront of the conversation around diversity and inclusion and to that end we regularly report on diversity within the workplace. The FT published our 2013 Diversity Survey and we have just released our 2020 Diversity Report.

In our most recent survey, some of the key areas we focused on were:

  • Is the diversity pool shallow or are there hidden depths?
  • The D&I fundamentalists – radical solutions to an age-old problem?
  • D&I: How do you answer a now obsolete question?
  • Diversity but not inclusion
  • Do you see us? The D&I agenda for disabled individuals

From our study we found 74% of respondents felt there are still obstacles holding back diverse individuals and 66% were dissatisfied with the lack of diversity presented to them by Search firms.

One BAME respondent described the “merry-go-round of the same small number of BAME names, taking on the same roles”, which they felt reflected a “failure of imagination of both search firms and Boards”. This is something Moloney Search looks to address through our industry leading search methodology that focuses on diverse candidates.

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