At Bright Network, we take immense pride in being the go-to destination for Black heritage students looking to start their careers. In 2023, High Fliers Research crowned Bright Network the most used platform for Black students. We are committed to providing tailored support and resources to empower Black talent, and connecting employers with our high performing, engaged members.
Combining behavioural and demographic data from our platform with our team of experts’ thorough knowledge of Gen Z, we are able to understand unique challenges faced by underrepresented communities in the early careers space.
We have invested in and engaged with student and graduate Black heritage talent, and you can use this to support your outreach and empowerment of this underrepresented community.
Here are our tips for making a lasting, and authentic change to the world of work and your recruitment pipelines:
1) Build meaningful relationships
Our commitment to diversity begins with fostering meaningful relationships with university societies focused on race and representation. Through 300 strong partnerships with these societies each year, we build a strong network on campus, making our platform a vibrant hub for Black students seeking career guidance. Our encouragement and support for these societies to participate in the Society of the Year Awards offer a unique spotlight on their skills and achievements, grabbing the attention of employers who value diversity and inclusion.
2) Target Black heritage students with opportunities tailored for them
Our research showed that 30% of Black heritage students feel that their ethnicity was the biggest barrier for them pursuing their desired career path. Providing opportunities designed with Black students in mind empowers them and sets them on the path to career success. For example, Bright Network member Jesse said ‘Bright Network was the first organisation to introduce me to commercial law as well as Slaughter and May - therefore kickstarting my career aspirations.’ Jesse secured a Future Trainee Solicitor role with Slaughter and May. Another of our members, Tifeoluwani, said ‘it was also through Bright Network that I found out about the Empowering Black Futures Programme at Accenture which eventually led me to receiving an offer from the company.’ Without Bright Network’s targeted and personalised approach, Jesse and Tifeoluwani wouldn’t have found their roles, while Slaughter and May and Accenture would have missed out on this great talent. A one-size-fits-all approach to DEIB is ineffective. We recommend thinking about the needs of your target demographics specifically. For example, we curate exclusive events like Black Heritage Future Leaders and Black Talent in Banking because we recognisze the underrepresentation of Black talent in the banking industry and in senior leadership positions.
3) Raise the voices of real role models
Gen Z values authenticity, and can see through organisations using buzzwords or misrepresenting their diversity with stock photos. At Bright Network, we bring real role models to the forefront through member success stories, bringing members to speak at events like our Illuminate Conference, and providing opportunities to be upskilled by employers at IEUK. Combined, this creates a powerful sense of connection and motivation among our member community. One of our members, Tosin, said ‘I always got the impression that Bright Network want to see people improve [...] I felt Bright Network really value their members.’ Seeing relatable individuals who look like them, sound like them, and have overcome similar challenges helps our members envision themselves as future leaders in their chosen fields. Are there voices and groups in your organisation who you could empower to share their story? Prospective candidates value hearing directly from those who are similar to them to get a true understanding of your organisation.
4) Optimising your processes with data insights
We believe in the power of data-driven insights to make a genuine impact. That's why we conduct comprehensive research on the attitudes and experiences of our Black heritage members as they navigate their early careers. This research enables us to create resources that directly address the unique challenges faced by the black community. For example, we identified that Black heritage confidence may dip during the testing stage of the recruitment process. This can result in Black heritage applicants not passing this stage and impacting the demographic makeup of employers’ graduate cohorts. To tackle this, we began to offer tailored e-learning modules and free practice tests that bolster their preparedness to succeed.
5) Be transparent
Building trust around DEIB conversations is key. 97% of Bright Network members now declare their ethnicity upon joining our platform. We have worked diligently to build this trust by being transparent about the reasons for collecting diversity data and demonstrating the positive outcomes that result from this data-driven approach.
Embracing diversity data empowers us to create a more inclusive and supportive environment, where Black talent feels valued, represented, and ready to embrace their limitless potential. It also means we can show our partners how their campaigns are performing in real time. For example, 62% of impressions in our work with Clyde and Co came from ethnic minority members, and 69% of all Clyde & Co hires were from Bright Network. Johnson Adeyanju, our New Partnerships lead, shared his insights and experience for this post. You can find Johnson at our Black Heritage Future Leaders event as the host, and Johnson also leads on several DEIB initiatives within Bright Network.
As a Bright Network partner, you’ll be able to leverage our data, targeting capabilities, engaged community, and understanding of Gen Z across all demographics. We’d love to work with you to shape a world of work that celebrates the unique contributions of each individual, ensuring a more equitable and promising future for all. Let’s talk.