Staying Ahead of the Curve: Gender Equity and Diversity Leadership

Our Thoughts
December 12, 2019

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down for an open discussion with roughly fifteen executives from other Executive Search Firms in our space. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of sitting down with competitors who are all after the same opportunities and having thoughtful dialogue around a leading topic – gender equity. This quickly transitions to discussion of diversity leadership placements in general.


As an Executive Search Firm, we often hear questions like: “How are you helping to close the pay gap?”, “How do you recruit diverse candidates?”and “How many diverse candidates should we expect to see?” These are the questions clients often ask or should be asking in my humble opinion. Whether it is mandated from a higher-level or there is a holistic approach to making this shift, the fact that this is a discussion more and more is promising.


The last couple of years we have heard many states do their part in trying to close the pay gap around hiring. Several states are making it illegal to specifically ask for someone’s salary information. It was surprising to hear Morgan Consulting Resources was one of only two firms in the entire room who have opted to get ahead of the curve and stop specifically asking for salary information, regardless of the state in which the candidate resides. Whether more and more states will go this route or not, we felt it prudent to do our small part and look at the bigger picture. The conversation has shifted from transactionally discussing what candidates have made or are currently making to focusing on what is the target salary for the qualifications of the candidates we bring to the table. This alleviates keeping individual’s salaries low based on the past, and looking at the actual function of the leadership role and what is budgeted.


This begs the bigger question, what else are we doing to close this gap, and not only the gender inequity, but also to increase diversity in placing leaders in Healthcare? We often boast at a high-level that we are a women-owned organization and have a holistic approach to diversity, which is great, but ensuring we continue to look at the day-to-day to move the needle is vital. Our daily input to this effort will help us get to a position where struggling to get women and diverse leaders in place will be a topic of the past. Unfortunately, we are nowhere close to this day based on trends of diverse leaders and this topic will be relevant for some time to come. It is very important, as executive recruiters, that we continue to educate our clients that not only is hiring diverse candidates important (and paying based on parity and not based on gender and/or salary history), but that offering continued support and growth beyond the ‘placement’ is necessary for retention. Otherwise,candidates will be dissatisfied and have a time limit upon arrival, eventually going to other companies with opportunities such as mentorships, leadership development avenues, and career progression plans.  


I ask everyone that recruits leaders in Healthcare or in general to continue to stay ahead of the curve in hiring and focus on doing their part. We don’t need 3 firms solely focused on diversity.... we need 30 firms making this a priority and shifting from the dated approach to executive search.Ultimately, we will do our part with helping close the pay gap, continue to advance diversity leaders for the advancement of the companies we partner with and also the communities they serve, and lead by example since we recruiters are the closest individuals to the top talent out there. This is not a goal,this is a promise.  


Alex Drury is a Principal and Vice President of Business Development at Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare executive search firm celebrating over 20 successful years in business.