Let’s get this straight…far from being exclusive of each other, talent and diversity are one and the same.

Forward thinking businesses recognise that in a rapidly changing world where social evolution means the way we work has shifted beyond recognition, the way we hire must follow suit.

As the traditional pools in which recruiters fish continue to dry up, the impact is that there are almost 700,000 unfilled job vacancies in the UK and without urgent action that figure will become over 3 million by 2050.

If just those extra 257,000 jobs were filled at average salaries, GDP would be increased by £7bn. If all were filled, GDP would increase by £19bn.

The bad news is that the situation is only going to get worse after Brexit. There is an anticipated employment shortfall of 3.1 million by 2050. However, this is only a concern if we don’t take action.

We began thinking about how we could help the business world to access new bountiful pools where untapped talent marginalised through factors including age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and circumstance face barriers to entry because of the bias ingrained in the traditional recruitment process.

Our solution? On National Mentoring Day last month, we introduced Connect Mentors to the world. An intelligent online mentoring platform which matches progressive businesses with marginalised talent. The response has been more than encouraging.

Progressive businesses recognise that the world is changing and will continue to evolve beyond recognition. It is not a ‘talent’ or ‘skills’ gap that the UK is facing – but one of opportunity.

We have more than enough people – and that is where Connect Mentors comes in.

Our vision is ambitious, but with an intelligent algorithm and longstanding relationships we have created the UK’s first online mentoring platform which not only matches businesses keen to access talent which will enable them to diversify their workforce, but unlocks opportunities for human connection between individuals who might not typically interact.

The learning is symbiotic. None of us know what we don’t know, and the only way we can be truly progressive and retain a competitive edge is by continually expanding our knowledge base. We need new insights from new people to achieve this, in a context where we listen to them.

Our mentor, Iqbal Wahaab OBE, is a long-standing champion of the benefits of mentoring.

For larger scale organisations there is a prospect of a fuller closed loop in mentoring,” he said.

Not only does one gain personal satisfaction from seeing people’s lives take on meaning and purpose, but our companies thrive better too. Projects like Connect Mentors take the process of engagement from the extra-curricular to the core curricular.”

We are open to everybody, but are partnered with a variety of organisations who provide our mentee pools of talent aged 18-80 of all ethnic backgrounds, educational attainment levels, and socio-economic backgrounds.

This means that whatever your specific workforce diversity objectives are, we can help you to realise them. With mentors from ASOS, Brit Insurance, Grant Thornton, Thomson Reuters, and Conde Nast to name a few, you’ll be in good company.

Like any meaningful mission, ours is ambitious. We want to change the way society views talent. We want to dispel the idea that the ‘best’ candidates come only from the Russell Group universities or are aged 45 and under.

We want to shine a spotlight on the value that disrupting ‘old school’ recruitment pro-cesses through initiatives like Connect Mentors can have on businesses and society more broadly.
Infusing business with new thinking and changing lives in the process.

Let 2018 be the year you ditch CSR box-ticking and conversation around inclusion. Take action!

For further information visit www.ConnectMentors.com.

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About The Author

Jessica Huie MBE is the Director of Connect Mentors, an online platform matching enthusiastic talent from a diverse range of social backgrounds to mentors from the UK’s most progressive organisations. A prolific media professional, Jessica has also founded her own PR company, and is well-known as a public speaker who promotes social mobility. She also famously founded a greeting cards company, Colour Blind Cards, that celebrates ethnic diversity. Jessica’s outstanding work earned her a place on the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours list, and she was granted her MBE for services to entrepreneurship.