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| 1 minute read

Want more diverse leaders? Start from within

Mobility teams are often in the business of attracting top talent — relocation benefits can sweeten an offer and might be the difference in securing a key hire versus losing that person to a competitor.

But perhaps equally important is mobility’s role in retaining talent within your organization. This is where things like rotational assignments can be used to expose a high-potential employee to multiple parts of the company across the world, positioning him or her for future leadership roles.

That’s why the article below caught my eye. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies have struggled to increase diversity within the executive suite because they focus too much on recruitment and not enough on retention. As they put it:

(M)ost companies overlook their greatest potential asset in creating a more diverse workplace: their own employees. After all, diversity isn’t spread evenly throughout an organization. According to a 2018 McKinsey study, women and people of color comprise 64% of entry-level roles but only 32% of the executive suite.

Companies are doing an OK job at hiring from a diverse pool of candidates, but once these hires get into an organization, they’re often on their own with no clear paths to career advancement.

Mobility can play a key role here, but we’re often falling behind in this area as well. In a recent post, I noted that only about 20 percent of international assignees are women. That stat comes from a Deloitte study which also found the following:

While 88 percent of leaders report being concerned about finding suitable candidates for international assignments, only 6 percent actively encourage mobility among minorities.

If mobility teams aren’t reaching out to a diverse pool of candidates, the people who ultimately go on those professionally rewarding assignments won’t be very diverse either.

So if your organization is serious about finding and developing talented people from a wide array of backgrounds, consider how your mobility program can be a strategic tool — and think about the future leaders who might be right under your nose, just looking for an opportunity.

Yet commitments have been made before, and to date, diversity efforts have struggled to deliver. Since tech giants began issuing diversity reports in 2014, progress has been slow: Facebook, for example, went from 3% Black workers to 3.8% between then and 2020. But the problem is much older and broader than tech: Between 1985 and 2016, the percentage of Black men in management in larger U.S. companies increased a mere 0.2%, from 3% to 3.2%. Why aren’t these efforts gaining traction? For employers to make meaningful progress, they need to focus less on hiring and more on creating the internal escalators necessary to raise diverse talent up from within.


diversity, equity, inclusion, hiring, business, business development, business strategy, business leaders, leadership, development, recruitment, retention, hr, mobility, rotational assignments