Employers need to address “systemic problems” in the way they recruit staff if they are to achieve a greater diversity of employment.

That is according to Charles Hipps, chief executive at e-recruitment specialist WCN, who argues that, despite their best intentions, firms’ recruitment strategies can often lead to them failing to consider candidates outside of certain demographics.

In an article for Personnel Today, he commented: “Irrespective of the evidence, many companies continue to recruit more of the same people.

“This is typically because they have systemic problems at the very heart of their recruitment process; their e-recruitment solution, which could make them more open to all, has bias built in.”

Examples of sources of bias include failing to monitor which publications, events or social media channels deliver the greatest mix of applicants and deterring certain types of people by asking particular questions or by having interview styles that alienate sections of the community, said Mr Hipps.

Accessibility of online recruitment processes is another major barrier to increasing diversity in the workplace.

“At the most practical level, poorly designed online recruitment processes make it difficult for people with disabilities to complete the process,” said the recruitment expert.

“In fact, when we carried out a survey of 40 employer websites, 80 per cent had accessibility issues.”

Mr Hipps argued that addressing problems such as these can help create a happier, more productive and more inclusive workforce.

He cited a 2009 study of retail talent trends by Deloitte Consulting LLP which found that 90 per cent of senior executives said that diversity and inclusion are critical to company performance.

“Organisations with a more inclusive approach also tend to have a friendlier culture and thus a lower turnover in staff, plus greater diversity tends to go hand in hand with greater innovation,” he added.