Do firms look beyond the regular media to advertise jobs?
Most businesses these days want to ensure that the composition of their workforce is a reasonable reflection of the society in which they operate. But how can any company which is actively recruiting workers reach the broadest possible base of applicants? Should it deliberately set out to recruit among minorities? Or must it sit back and hope they will drift in via the Jobcentres?
Meet them halfway is the answer, according to The Body Shop's career development manager, Hilary Stevenson. 'When it comes to management positions, and nationally advertised positions, we use The Times, The Daily Telegraph or The Guardian. The way we deal with the minority issue is to have a separate budget which allows us to place adverts in the minority press alongside these.' Levi Strauss has a similar policy. 'We advertise in a number of places such as the disabled press and the minority press,' explains corporate affairs manager Mark Elliott. 'There's no positive discrimination (in favour of minorities) but we want to reach as wide as possible a sweep of applicants. By advertising only in the regular media, we may miss out on this.'
Few businesses seem to go to these lengths, even though they may have policies about the employment of minorities. Possibly they have never considered the matter, or perhaps they believe, like National Westminster Bank, that 'to do so would exclude all other groups who do not read these publications'.
Advertising in minority publications can be an effective way of 'sending out the right signals', says Susan Scott-Parker, chief executive of the Employers Forum on Disability. 'We would advise employers to use every avenue to convince disabled people that they are serious. The long-term issue is that too many disabled people have been discouraged. Using the disabled press, along with PR and image building, can help get the message across that you welcome disabled job seekers.'
Kim Watson, marketing director of Millivers, the publishing house whose titles include Gay Times and Diva is happy to concur. 'I always think a job ad has a two-fold message. As well as recruiting for a specific position, it is a corporate ad in itself. A good example is Bass, which recently placed a recruitment ad in Gay Times. Bass runs a lot of pubs which are gay venues and the ad served as a promotion to the gay community.'
Watson claims that the gay press has seen an increase in conventional corporate advertising. Other sectors have certainly fared less well. 'Corporate business has hardly recognised the ethnic media at all, really,' says Robert Block, advertising manager of the Asian Times and Caribbean Times.
'They're quite happy doing what they've been doing for years.' For the time being, advertising in the minority press is likely to remain something that only a minority of companies do.