Using Social Media to Recruit a Diverse Workforce

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La Verne, California


A Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements
for MGMT 525 Management of Diversity

Mark E. Attew

College of Business and Public Management

Department of Business Management and Leadership

August 13, 2010

Using Social Media to Recruit a Diverse Workforce

As organizations continue to search for ways to attain and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, many have begun looking more closely at how to best attract, manage and leverage one of their most precious resources, people (Sayers and Wilson, 1997). Studies of competitiveness throughout the world have found that societies that underutilize their educated minority groups by preventing them (directly or indirectly) from working in professional and managerial positions lose billions to reduced productivity and efficiency each year (Sayers and Wilson, 1997). Many organizations are becoming aware of the growing diversity in the communities they do business and are responding by developing strategies for hiring and retention in which diversity is linked to the organization’s mission and business objectives (Miller & Katz, 2002). Typically, the evolving mission is to increase market share with a diverse client base, enhance relationships with the diverse community, increase diversity within the employee population and enhance the success of existing employees through development and mentoring programs (Miller & Katz, 2002).

In terms of addressing employee diversity within their organizations, increasing numbers of organizations have begun to examine opportunities for recruiting employees presented by the growing popularity and ubiquity of Social Media. Social Media, Social Networking, Blogging and Online Communities are a few of the terms that collectively have become known as Web 2.0 (Leader-Chivée & Cowan, 2008). As Kaplan and Haenlin (2010) suggest, Web 2.0 was an ideological shift in which content on the Internet was opened to modification and commentary by all users instead of being created and controlled by a single entity. As noted by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010), the popularity of Social Media tools has resulted in user registration counts exceeding the populations of entire countries in South America and Europe. Leader-Chivée & Cowan (2008) suggest that the popularity of Social Media rises from people’s attraction to posting personal information and commentary in public forums for millions of other users to view. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) point out that despite earlier trends, growth is not limited to teenagers and that increasing numbers of Generation X (aged 35-44) are joining and actively engaging in Social Networks.

In order to put the use of Social Networks into a perspective that takes the full potential of cultural diversity into account, it is necessary to study statistics on overall use of the Internet. By December 2008, 1 billion unique visitors were online, with over 41% in the Asia-Pacific region, 28% in Europe a little over 18% in the United States and 7.4% in Latin America (Netpop, 2009). As the Netpop study (2009) went further to reveal, the United States currently has more Internet users than any other country but will be surpassed in 2012 by Asian, specifically Chinese users. This international growth will create more opportunities for workers who are increasingly using the Internet as a medium to market themselves to recruiters and human resource personnel via Social Media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (Roberts & Roach, 2009). Despite this growth however, the question arises as to whether the increase in use of Social Media has any correlation with the growing demand for qualified workers. Leader-Chivée & Cowan (2008) cite a recent study in which 75% of 400 human resource executives from 40 countries reported concerns about their ability to attract, retain...
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