Executive search firms are in a unique position to help employers to improve their levels of diversity and to properly benefit from the rewards that inclusion brings. While the advantages of a diverse workforce are increasingly recognised, developing and implementing strategies to build one remains a challenge for business leaders. Chair of Stonewall, Jan Gooding, discusses the role and responsibility of executive search firms in terms of improving diversity and inclusion.


I looked out at the sea of white faces, and they were all wearing preppy clothes, and I thought to myself no wonder you don’t get it because you don’t get it. Your own firm isn’t… I had a letter in advance and it said I couldn’t wear jeans.

So, guess what happened? And I talked about it, I said “what do you mean I can’t wear jeans? Have you even thought about why you even say that anymore?” These tics and habits and rituals that we have, and I said look at you all!

How diverse do you all really think you are? Who are you to advise anybody? So, I’m afraid this subject starts at home. I think search firms, really, look into your own house first and then make a bloody effort about who you’re putting forward.

There are the most amazingly talent people, just not in your network.

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Diversity and inclusion is not just about numbers. It should be about bringing in professionals with a variety of cultures, background and experiences to challenge and change the status quo and help your company explore new products and markets. Hiring the right talent becomes increasingly important in today’s globalised business environment, where companies must navigate differences between languages, cultures and customs.

For a confidential conversation about your executive hiring challenges, feel free to connect with me directly here.

By Juliet Hardingham, Senior Consultant

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Juliet Hardingham

Senior Consultant

As part of the financial services practice Juliet Hardingham works with a team of experts who support clients globally in four primary segments which are: Insurance & Insurtech, Retail and Challenger Banking, Payments & FinTech and Private Equity.