Advancing employment equity through personalisation

Feb 22, 2024 | Diversity, Home Featured, Opinion

A more personalised strategy can help HEI and early career talent professionals better support and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds in their academic and professional pursuits, explains Jessica Bryant from King’s College London.

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, the pursuit of diversity and inclusion is not merely a moral imperative; it stands as a non-negotiable necessity for advancing employment equity.

The resounding call to action is clear: we cannot endure another decade of uniform approaches and conventional thinking, especially when it comes to disrupting prevailing ethnic trends and improving employment rates.

This urgency becomes particularly evident when analysing the graduate outcomes of statistically underserved students and those with advanced degrees. For example, the UK Black-Heritage cohorts, where employment trends show a concerning drop, accompanied by increasing rates of failure and limited access to promising career pathways.

Transition to work

Navigating the transition from student life to the professional world is a significant and pivotal phase, laden with both opportunities and challenges.

It is during this period that building trust, navigating new opportunities, and addressing potential obstacles become critical components of success for underserved students. The spotlight on career and employability education, entwined with early career talent development, is paramount.

The effectiveness of strategies employed, and the supportive environments maintained during these transitions play a pivotal role in shaping the success ideals that underserved students can aspire to achieve.

Paradigm shift

To bring about the necessary change, a paradigm shift is crucial, urging higher education institutions (HEIs) and early career talent professionals to explore innovative pathways that foster inclusivity throughout diverse career journeys.

At a policy level, the imperative to unpack challenges and seize opportunities in this educational landscape becomes apparent.

The long-term investment in maximising the principles of educational and employment equity is not just a moral duty; it emerges as a strategic necessity.

Embracing diversity becomes the key to unlocking untapped potential, necessitating a fundamental shift from traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches to a more personalised strategy.


Picture an educational and professional landscape where individual journeys and experiences are not merely acknowledged, but intricately woven into the fabric of learning and career development.

This vision aligns with the essence of personalisation – a powerful tool that has the potential to redefine the approaches of HEI professionals and early career talent professionals.

Their guidance becomes instrumental in navigating the intricate transition from academia to the professional world, ensuring that students are not only well-equipped but also empowered to face the diverse challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

In acknowledging the constraints of such a transformative strategy, it becomes evident that expectations are not without challenges. However, this acknowledgment does not negate the transformative potential of the suggested shift.

The cornerstone of this pivotal transition rests in the work of HEI professionals and early career talent professionals. Their crucial role in aligning students’ understanding with nuanced ideas, assumptions, and validation within the realm of career development is paramount.

As we collectively embark on this transformative journey, we pave the way for a more inclusive and innovative future, where diversity is not just celebrated but integral to the fabric of educational and professional success.

Where to consider building equity into the work of HEI and early career talent professionals?

Guidance for advancing practice through an equity lens:

1. In the context of design thinking, incorporating cultural competency enhances the implementation of best practices through thoughtful and informed actions.

2. Consider diverse resources to draw well-rounded decision making on deliverables, concepts and work related to early career talent development.

3. Start with acknowledging one’s limited understanding of the student’s served realities, create action to find a measure of understanding.

4. In the terms of diversifying strategies, consider diversification of outcomes and success of a student on various levels.

5. Within our profession, let’s advance our communication approaches by integrating empathy, insight, and a focus on social impact.

In conclusion, this discourse underscores the paramount importance of embracing diversity within organisational settings.

As we traverse this exploration, our focus extends beyond mere reflection, extending to the provision of practical advice and considerations. Employers, eager to foster an environment that celebrates individuality, can find valuable insights within shared perspectives.

By incorporating these principles, organisations can not only embrace diversity but also cultivate a workplace that truly thrives on the unique strengths and perspectives of each individual, fostering innovation and inclusivity.

Personalisation was one of the themes at ISE’s EDI Conference. Presentations are now available to download.

You may also be interested in…

How Nestle uses data to shift the diversity dial

4 ways to break down the barriers to social mobility

How HSBC leveraged technology to engage students from low-opportunity backgrounds

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