How to win the war on talent – and many more insights from the CMI Women Conference 2023

Written by Emma Molloy Wednesday 14 June 2023
Fundamental shifts in the employment landscape have left companies competing for the best staff. Here are five strategies to ensure that you are not only reaching a small pool of potential candidates and limiting your organisation’s growth
An illustration of a group of employees in an office

The number of firms facing hiring difficulties hit a record high at the end of 2022, lying at 82% according to the British Chamber of Commerce’s (BCC) Quarterly Recruitment Outlook. In Q1 of 2023 – with two in five managers telling CMI that their organisations are looking to increase recruitment in the next six months from March 2023 – that number has fallen just two percentage points to 80%. And, says the BCC, there is “no sign of hiring difficulties easing”.

In the scramble for talent, companies are reaching for every tool in their toolbox to attract and retain the best employees. Any manager turning to Google for help is guaranteed to be inundated with listicles suggesting everything from offering hybrid work to slickening up the hiring process. But there’s one strategy that isn’t mentioned much: inclusion. It was, however, the hot topic at this year’s CMI Women Conference.  

Watch back the CMI Women Conference 2023:

“We are in the tightest labour market there has been in my working life,” Sir Trevor Phillips told the conference in May. “We need to make sure that we are drawing from the widest [talent] pool possible.”

In such a tight labour market, he says, organisations need to understand that the employee is choosing them as much as they are choosing the employee. “And that means they have to be attractive; their value proposition has to be attractive. [But] the truth of the matter is, we are still in a place where a lot of our organisations are not attractive to people who come from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds.”

The law of attraction

We know that diversity and inclusion is important to a company’s value proposition: 76% of jobseekers told Glassdoor’s workplace D&I survey that a diverse workforce was important for them to evaluate companies and job offers, rising to 80% among those belonging to a minority group. Similarly, three in ten would not apply to a company with a poor diversity record, rising to four in ten among both Black and LGBTQIA+ job seekers. 

“People won’t come to your organisation if they don’t feel it’s somewhere they can thrive,”  says Alice Maynard CBE CMgr CCMI in a panel on tapping into hidden talent. 

The secret to successfully attracting talent from diverse backgrounds, she says, is being open to change within your organisation and enacting any necessary changes quickly.

“I don’t think you should be getting behind people and pushing them into your organisation; you need to change your organisation from the inside so that [your] magnetic pull as a really truly inclusive organisation is what draws people in.”


Every session at the CMI Women Conference was full of insightful strategies and ideas on the types of changes you can start making today to make your organisation more inclusive – and, in turn, more attractive to a wider, more diverse pool of talent. Here are just five of them.

Want to attract the biggest talent pool possible to your organisation?


If you are already registered as a CMI Friend, Subscriber or Member, just login to view this article.

Confirm your registration

Login below to confirm your details and access this article.


Please confirm that you want to switch off the "Sign in with email" remember me feature.

Register for Free Access

Not yet a Member, Subscriber or Friend? Register as a CMI Friend for free, and get access to this and many other exclusive resources, as well as weekly updates straight to your inbox.

You have successfully registered

As a CMI Friend, you now have access to whole range of CMI Friendship benefits.

Please login to the left to confirm your registration and access the article.