Why Companies Say They Can’t Find Minorities

MINEmployers often blame the pipeline for their failure to build a diverse workforce. Here?s why that?s an excuse.

Just this Wednesday, I spotted a story on the Columbia Journalism Review website titled, ?Why aren?t there more minority journalists?? In one form or another, this question seems to be everywhere these days:

Why aren?t there more women in STEM careers?

Why is the unemployment rate for people with disabilities so high?

Why do less than half of women of color feel they have a chance to advance at work?

Why are transgender workers at greater risk for unemployment?

We all know that the country?s demographics are changing: We?re getting older and more culturally diverse. We also know that there are benefits to cultivating a workplace full of people with different backgrounds and ideas. Yet many industries are still dominated by white men. And when companies are called on the carpet for a lack of diversity, they often cite the pipeline, saying, ?we?re trying, but it?s just so hard to find diverse candidates.?

I say that?s baloney.

Roughly a decade ago, I wrote a book called The Business Case for Diversity. And here we are, in 2015, with more recruitment resources than ever before?still making the same excuses. It?s time to stop. Qualified women and minorities are out there. You just have to be willing to do what it takes to find them and show them that your organization is a place where they?re going to be welcome.

So, you say you?re serious about cultivating a more diverse workforce? Here?s where to start:

1. Say it. You can?t assume that everyone knows you?re looking for diverse candidates because, let?s face it, many companies just aren?t. The organization?s leadership needs to step up and make it a priority. Include your commitment to diversity in your recruitment information and on your web site. Reinforce the message with existing employees.

2. Train your hiring managers to hire for diversity?and hold them accountable for doing so. Too often, we tend to feel comfortable with people who are like us. They should be interviewing diverse slates of candidates when new job openings arise.

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