Equality & Diversity

Promoting Diversity

We have had great success with clients in appointing women into leadership roles (in 2019 50% of senior appointments were female), however we recognise the broader challenges for organisations across the sectors in which we work, in particular in relation to ensuring a well-balanced workforce and greater representation of BAME colleagues at a senior level. We encourage clients to reflect on their approach to flexible working to broaden the appeal of their opportunities.

In adhering to the Equality Act, we will always search for, assess and present candidates without prejudice or bias regardless of age, disability, gender assignment, marital/partnership status, parenthood/maternity, ethnicity, nationality, colour, religion/belief (or lack of belief), sex or sexual orientation.
Dixon Walter is a signatory to the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which addresses gender diversity on corporate boards as well as best practice for the related search processes. We also understand the contribution of initiatives such as Advance HE’s Diversity Principles Framework and recognise the importance of the sector Equality Charters and schemes such as Stonewall Diversity Champions and Disability Confident in creating inclusive workplaces.

As an organisation we regularly assess and update the suitability of our approaches to equality, diversity and inclusivity.  Members of the team keep themselves abreast of legal and good practice developments and as an organisation we engage with professional bodies and networks to better understand the challenges facing our clients.  To signal our commitment we have spoken at conferences and sponsored equality themed awards and accolades across the sectors in which we operate.

We also invite and welcome discussions about organisational values and behaviours and any associated internal frameworks to ensure we identify candidates who buy into and will uphold the company’s ethos and approach.
Most of all, at Dixon Walter our priority is to support our clients with their endeavours to deliver on their commitment to equality of opportunity and an inclusive experience for all.

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Equality and Diversity in Practice

The Campaign

At the start of each new campaign, we will work with clients to:

  • review and challenge any current diversity goals considering the current workforce profile
  • explore any evidence of under-representation of any given group/characteristic
  • agree diversity targets or positive action steps for the campaign

We pride ourselves on designing campaigns based on criteria against which all candidates, including internal applicants, are assessed as equals. Rather than focusing on professional career experience alone, these criteria take into account ability, competence, interpersonal skills and formal or academic qualifications.
We take every possible step to ensure our approach is open, fair and encouraging to all applicants. If not carefully managed, bias can arise through:

  • the language used in recruitment material, such as adverts and person specifications
  • the structure of the recruitment process itself
  • the nature of the competitive selection process.

During the consultation and briefing stage, we will discuss this with our clients and ensure that language is considered when developing campaign material and to guarantee no applicants are disadvantaged.
We can make use of gender decoders to check adverts prior to publication for any potential masculine or feminine preferences within the language. If requested, we will also include diversity and inclusion messages within promotional material including positive action statements.
During the final stage assessment and selection process, we will offer advice in terms of the relocation needs of international candidates and provide guidance and challenge if needed to avoid any unconscious bias. In a situation where two or more candidates display equal merit, we will consult with the client about positive action steps and ensure consideration for any group that is disproportionately under-represented or otherwise disadvantaged within the workforce (providing this is evidence based and such a decision would address this under-representation). 

Monitoring & Reporting

We monitor equality data at all stages of the campaign from application to interview and selection. Anonymised reports are available to our clients on request. Completion of an Equality Monitoring form is a requirement for each of our campaigns to assist with this process and we actively encourage applicants to complete the Form to ensure an inclusive approach. We collate all information at the close of each assignment to present to our clients and review equality data against all campaigns every quarter to assess our performance.
Equality data is handled sensitively within Dixon Walter and in accordance with GDPR principles.  We will protect every candidate’s right to privacy and will not share sensitive information with our clients.

Accessibility of Material

All documents and materials related to a recruitment campaign are accessible 24/7 via bespoke microsites which we develop for each advertised role to ensure no-one is disadvantaged.  We ensure contact details are clear and included within all material to allow for ease of enquiry.

National and International reach

As sector specialists our personal and professional networks extend nationally and internationally and through these, we have attracted talent from an international stage for a number of senior appointments. We are experienced with relocation matters and have access to all information required to promote the UK as an attractive career destination of choice. To this extent, to ensure diversity of applicants we view all recruitment assignments as national and international projects and apply our methodologies to generate the widest possible pool of talent available.

Candidate Care and Feedback

Dixon Walter prides itself on the team’s approach to candidate care.  We practice an open and transparent approach in our dealings with candidates and clients. We ensure that support and advice is provided where appropriate to candidates from under-represented groups via feedback and guidance throughout all stages of the process.

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