- Long known for it's "men in suits," the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is stepping up efforts to recruit more diverse candidates, including more women and minorities, reports the Star Tribune.
- Deborah Pierce, an FBI employee with 27 years of service, is one of only 10 women ever to lead an FBI field office. However, the agency is stepping up to create greater diversity among its ranks with an ambitious recruitment effort aimed at reducing the current 'crisis'. Before he departed the FBI, former director James Comey made a case for greater diversity.
- FBI officials have begun outreach efforts in communities around the U.S. to increase the share of female agents from the current 20% to 33% by the end of the year.
The effort that the FBI is making to include more women and minorities is long overdue. Experts quoted in the Star Tribune say its due to old-fashioned values set in place by former director J. Edgar Hoover who believed women couldn't handle the demands of a career in the FBI. It's just another example of how strongly bias can affect recruitment efforts decades after such behavior is considered inappropriate. Unconscious bias still holds women back from becoming leaders in their organizations; even women believe men make better leaders, thanks to the power of bias.
Most private sector organizations understand the importance of hiring for diversity, and now government agencies are finally recognizing this too. But that by no means makes it easy to tackle. A slew of tech companies have announced that they have "work to do" on diversity, yet have made little gains in important diversity statistics at their companies.
For diversity to take off at any organization, company leadership needs to be accountable and actively support inclusion initiatives such as employee resource groups. Leadership pipelines must also specifically support women and minority candidates such as through mentorships, especially in industries mostly led by white men.