Having a diverse leadership function makes business sense, you don’t need us to tell you that. It’s been proven time and time again that companies which accurately mirror their customer or client base perform better than those that don’t. A report from Bersin by Deloitte, for example, shows that diverse businesses had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period than non-diverse companies did.

The executive search sector plays a vital role in helping companies increase diversity levels by tapping into (often) hidden talent pools of ambitious professionals who, for a variety of reasons, are not presenting themselves for senior level positions.

However, our latest research suggests that GDPR could be about to make the diversity initiatives of both search firms and in-house corporate search teams much, much harder.  Our survey of over 350 global search firms: Unintended Consequences - Why GDPR could move executive careers into the slow lane around the globe, reveals that if executives fail to facilitate their data being stored by search firms post May 2018, recruiters simply won’t be able to sustain the level of engagement required to alert them to potential career moves.  And while this looks set to hamper search specialists ability to meet their clients’ shortlist targets, it could also have negative consequences for the talented executives in underrepresented groups.

The message to executives is consequently clear.  It has perhaps never been more important to forge close relationships with search firms to ensure that they can highlight appropriate career opportunities. And while there may be a belief that engagement with search firms at any point in the past means that they can contact executives in the future - this might simply not be the case when applicable privacy laws are considered.  The information that an individual may have shared with a search firm three or four years ago may no longer apply. As one interviewee who took part in GatedTalent’s research said, “Executives will almost need to re-register in databases to ensure they remain on the radar. Otherwise they might well disappear.”

While this may seem burdensome to some, senior executives that take appropriate steps now have the opportunity to forge even closer relationships with select search firms which can only be a positive thing for the development of their careers. And the good news is that many search firms are taking active steps to implement data management systems – such as GatedTalent – which will allow executives to share information via a private network with trusted recruitment partners and no one else.

For a copy of the new research report, download it here. And to ensure you stay on the radar of executive search firms, register on GatedTalent, the database of ‘gated talent’ here.

Image credit: Nick Youngson