Building and sustaining a diverse talent pipeline at AstraZeneca

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Not only does it encourage people to look at things in a different way, but inclusion and diversity also promotes innovation. Something that can only come from a diverse workforce.

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Finding the right candidate, for the right role requires an intentionally inclusive recruiting process. Here are three ways to build a diverse talent pipeline that reflects your company’s needs.


Foster inclusion first

Where and how a business advertises job positions plays a big part in attracting diverse candidates and encouraging them to apply.

So, be mindful of how you write your job descriptions and clearly state the company’s commitment to inclusion and diversity up front.

It must be an authentic part of your company culture and perceived throughout the end-to-end hiring process – from the job advert, company website, application process, social media channels and onboarding.

No matter how impartial you try to be, the risk of unconscious bias will always remain. One way to identify unconscious biases is by educating managers and those involved in the recruitment process to understand how bias works and what kind of actions they should take to mitigate the challenges.

At AstraZeneca, we also use an augmented writing platform to help us regulate our job adverts by removing language associated with gender.

Diversifying the job boards and recruitment platforms that you place adverts will help talent acquisition teams to tap into new pools of talent.

To ensure we’re reaching a diverse range of candidates, AstraZeneca uses a variety of job boards such as Women in Tech, which promotes women in technology, MyGWork, a business community for LGBT+ and BBSTEM, a non-profit organisation campaigning for balance and representation of black individuals in science, technology, engineering and maths.


A positive hiring experience for every candidate

One of the goals for AstraZeneca’s talent acquisition team is to ensure that every candidate has a positive experience, whether successful or not.

A positive experience should leave candidates feeling interested and valued, and most importantly, excited at the opportunity to work for your company.

There’s not a blanket approach to talent acquisition but there should be consistency in how you identify, validate, and nurture talent to meet the needs of the business.

Inclusion and diversity should be carefully considered at the assessment and screening stage of the recruitment process. There are tools that can be used for screening candidate abilities using behavioural science and ethical AI.

This helps hiring managers to remove any unconscious shortcuts based on their own personal biases.


Building an inclusive company culture

Creating a diverse talent pipeline is one part of creating a company that is truly ethical, moral and diverse. At AstraZeneca, we emphasise the importance of inclusive leadership and foster a culture where people feel empowered and safe to speak up.

Our employee resource groups connect like-minded people across the business and encourage our employees to provide input and insight into creating a more diverse workplace.

By providing an environment where people can be their authentic selves, we’re able to harness our employees’ unique experiences to help achieve our goals, ensuring equality and diversity that reflects our communities and the patients we serve.

Fostering a diverse talent pipeline takes commitment, intentionality, time, and a keen eye for unconscious bias. It’s important to show evidence of company practices that will make someone from an underrepresented group feel at home.

The candidate experience needs to be authentic and fair for everyone. Ultimately, inclusion and diversity is an asset, it enables business to draw on a broad array of experiences, perspectives and skills that benefit the company as a whole.  

Maggie Spong is vice president of talent acquisition at AstraZeneca