Why Executive Search Firm Diversity Matters

I’ve been chewing on it a while.  I’ve had something I’ve wanted to say. Executive search firm diversity matters. I know it is impolitic to discuss issues with one’s own industry. I am fully aware it is so much safer to remain silent (and boring). But truth is the executive search firm business lacks diversity.

There I said it. In fact, I said it at length in a blog post entitled Search Firm Diversity Impact on Executive Hires.

Lack of Diversity Begets the Same

The lack of executive search firm diversity is concerning because search firms recruit senior executives and board members to companies that also lack diversity.  It is only natural to wonder if there a relationship between the two?

That’s why executive search firm diversity matters. Consequently, we ought to have the courage to ask tough questions. We must ensure that homogenous search firms don’t build homogenous executive teams and boards of directors at the client companies they serve.

Unconscious Discrimination

If there is a relationship — if there are a cause and effect — then I don’t think it is intentional. At least, I’d prefer to think no one wants to discriminate.  Rather, I suspect what may be at the root of it all is unconscious bias.  We humans come wired that way. If we all have that inclination to prejudge — if we all are prone to error in that way — then there is no one person to blame. And if there is no one person to blame, there is hope that we can come together and fix this thing.

Conscious Conversations

Of course, diversity is notoriously difficult to discuss. Finding ways to talk about executive search firm diversity can be challenging. This is sensitive stuff. I’d venture a guess that this blog post might upset some of the leading search firms out there who might chafe at my noting that the leadership of most firms is white and male. But that’s okay.  I’ve always believed in standing up for what is right.  Fairness. A level playing field.  That’s right as rain.

Whenever anyone out there of any diversity type  — whether Black, White, Hispanic, Male, Female, LGBT —  feels unheard or unappreciated, we must remember that we can get through this thing together so that there really is equal opportunity for all at the senior executive level.  We must remember there is still is hope in this dog-eat-dog world of ours. Failing that, we must always remember: there is Adele.



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