As a business created to support clients and candidates in the public sector, a deep belief in equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our values. We see our role as seeking out talent in all its forms, whatever they might be, and identifying true potential. We take it as our duty to always be actively challenging assumptions about what outstanding talent looks like.
We know we have an important role to play in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and we take this responsibility seriously. As a client of AQ, you will be challenged by our team to take positive action in recruitment processes, and we ask our clients to be true partners with us as we seek to improve the diversity of senior leadership teams. We pledge to be a part of the solution and to affect change.
Headhunting has often sought to exclude rather than include – the outdated concept of the headhunter’s little black book, typically representing an inner circle of well-known homogeneous contacts being the obvious example. We are working on a range of initiatives that move beyond recruitment process and focus on addressing systemic issues in executive recruitment. The aim is to position AQ as an inclusive company, one that the broadest range of candidates will feel comfortable engaging with and one that will recognise the qualities and abilities of people who may not have followed a typical career path or may not ‘look like’ the typical candidate.
AQ’s EDI strategy forms part of our overall business strategy and is constantly evolving as we learn and develop; it is continually scrutinised to ensure it is fit for purpose as our company grows. Diversity is a core AQ value and is integral to our business culture; we have an inclusive and supportive culture and want to continually empower our team to develop, to bring their whole selves to work and ultimately to become better at what we do, individually and collectively. We work in the public sector and we take a huge amount of pride in this; our team are passionate about and committed to the sectors they work in.
Our EDI strategy encompasses the following areas:
We continue to develop our understanding, expertise and commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. As we did in 2021, we have again joined leading companies from a range of sectors and industries in signing the Inclusive Culture Pledge, an initiative managed by diversity consultancy The EW Group.
Joining the Pledge is a public commitment that we take diversity and inclusion seriously and that we understand the need to provide our employees with a safe, fair and supportive place to work. We will again partner with the EW Group, a specialist in diversity and inclusion training, to receive support in the following areas: bespoke training to deepen our individual and collective understanding of ED&I and participation in round table events to support our continued development and to highlight learning needs.
Our Achievements in 2021
Being part of the Pledge in 2021 helped us to focus on specific objectives and drive our EDI work to develop our collective understanding of EDI and how it relates to individual’s roles within the business. Individual objectives were set and concentrated on during 1:1 mentor development sessions with our EWG consultant. The results have been hugely positive and engagement with EDI at AQ has greatly improved and staff are more confident speaking with candidates and challenging our clients on their own EDI objectives.
Our consultants and researchers have continued to develop much broader and deeper networks, seeking out diverse individuals and groups which has resulted in consistently diverse candidate lists delivered to clients and more importantly more diverse executive and non-executive placements.
We have undertaken internal projects and implemented stronger communications to support EDI education and discussion to bring the team together and create more inclusion. This work will continue as we concentrate on the diversity of our team as we grow the business.
“In 2022, we will evaluate our recruitment processes with a focus on accessibility and inclusive language, to ensure a supportive and inclusive experience for all candidates. We will continue to develop our collection and analysis of diversity data to deepen insights on trends, industry benchmarks and AQ’s successes in diverse appointments. We will continue to focus on attracting diverse talent to the AQ team as we grow the business.”
The Inclusive Pledge is an initiative that supports our company values and we know that the learnings we will take from the events, the networks we will build and the training over the next year will continue to build our knowledge base, ensuring we work at the cutting edge of diversity and inclusion. We want to be accountable, to be part of the solution and to help affect change in our society.
For more information on the Inclusive Pledge click here.