Business leaders at the smallest startups to the biggest global corporations have publicly committed to taking action against bias and discrimination in their own workplaces. But how much have they succeeded?

Rather than leave them to guess, the team at SmartRecruiters worked together to create a Diversity Hiring and Success toolkit accessible to companies of all sizes and industries at no cost, regardless of whether they are SmartRecruiters customers. The toolkit includes:

  • Diversity Hiring Maturity Model and Standards of Success: Clear criteria by which organizations can be evaluated to assess their diversity hiring capabilities. The Model is built upon four Success Pillars.
  • Diversity Hiring Assessment: A comprehensive questionnaire to understand your current level of competency and identify areas of improvement.
  • Diversity Hiring Blueprint: A custom report based on your self-assessment that provides bespoke guidance and actionable insights based on your level of maturity.

Hundreds of business leaders have already completed the Diversity Hiring Assessment, empowering them to develop a clear, actionable plan to achieve their strategic diversity hiring goals. Their aggregated responses also represent a snapshot of the state of diversity hiring — highlighting where most organizations are falling short and where they can make their biggest gains.

However, this report is more than just a collection of tables and charts. We’ve also included trends and insights, our favorite D&I success stories, and actionable tips to get you moving as you attract and retain the diverse talent you need.

The Diversity Hiring Maturity Model

The Diversity Hiring Assessment evaluates your hiring capabilities across all 12 standards (and four success pillars) using the Diversity Hiring Maturity Model. This rubric assigns a score corresponding to the level of sophistication and rigor the organization has invested, starting with Level 1 (Diversity Talent Aware) to Level 4 (Diversity Talent Ally).


The report is based on 401 self-assessments, completed Jan. 18-June 25, 2021. Respondents were intercontinental. More than half of respondents (53%) work in North America, with 39% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 8% in Asia-Pacific.

The information contained in this report, as well as sample policies and other recommended human resources “best practices,” is not legal advice. Rather, it is intended to provide guidance for companies to achieve hiring success by using their own policies, procedures, or HR programs.

Key Findings

  • Barely Scratching the Surface

    Many organizations are missing out on the most basic opportunities to share their commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce with potential applicants.

  • Working Without a Plan

    Many employers’ recruitment plans are neither strategic nor specific enough to move the needle.

  • Budgets Haven’t Budged

    Employers aren’t adequately funding their D&I initiatives in line with their publicly stated goals. Meaningful progress requires aligning investment with intent.

  • Neglecting Opportunities for Internal Talent

    Fair and competitive internal hiring plays a critical role in D&I success, yet many organizations are failing to engage the diverse employees they already have.

  • Bias Keeps Creeping In

    Fair hiring processes add perspective, consistency, and structure to the hiring process, ensuring that all hiring touch points minimize bias. However, many employers have yet to adopt known best practices for minimizing bias in recruitment and promotion.

Who Took the Self-Assessment

Participants typically represented small to midsize companies. Nearly half came from the U.S. and nearly a quarter from the U.K. Almost a quarter work in the technology sector.