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Winning the Talent War post-pandemic: diversity, equity and inclusion is key

Covid-19 and the ‘great resignation’ changed the hiring landscape dramatically. It triggered a pivot in working practices for almost everyone working in international education. For many, it also caused deep reflection on what they want from work going forward – and diversity, equity and inclusion is at the top of that list. But how do we attract and retain talent in this new environment? 

At The PIE Live London, which took place on 28-29 March this year, The PIE Exec Search hosted an insightful panel discussion titled Winning the ‘Talent War post-pandemic with equity, diversity and inclusion at centre stage’. Chaired by our very own Nick Golding, Business Development Director at The PIE, it united four leaders in the field: 

  • Leanne Linacre, CEO of Lead5050 and LILA
  • Rebecca Schnauffer, Head of Global Strategic Clients, Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, 
  • Robert Baker, CEO at Potentia Talent Consulting 
  • Lisa Phillipps, Executive Search Director at The PIE

As a result of the pandemic, hybrid and remote working has become the norm for many of us. Rebecca, from LinkedIn, shared some interesting figures with the audience, stating that the vast majority (83%) of employees feel that they are more productive working in a hybrid environment, while only 12% of employers agree. There are still many questions to work through to figure out when physically being in an office is more productive than home working. 

By 2025, it’s estimated that 75% of the global workforce will be millennials. And for them, and the younger generation Gen Z, DEI is even more of a priority when it comes to work. According to the panel, they want to see leaders who look like them and to know organisations are committed to DEI long-term. 

It is about leading from the front and levelling the playing field, whether employees are working in an office, remote or hybrid, the speakers agreed. This also means line managers need to be equipped with taking care of their team members no matter what their working patterns are, Rob added. But building trust and rapport with a team remotely is harder than in-person, Lisa pointed out. “There needs to be clear direction on what the organisation needs and that needs to trickle down from the top so everybody is on the same page,” she stated.

Despite economic uncertainty, workers are still interested in new opportunities and employers should really look at talent retention. According to LinkedIn data, 60% of people are saying they are ‘considering’ moving jobs and the majority of them are ‘confident’ that they will get one. Lisa added that post-pandemic, the “change aversion” has disappeared, which poses a “huge risk” to employers. 

So how do we retain the people we have and attract talent? Employers should embrace skills-first hiring approaches. “The job you are doing today is not the job you will be doing tomorrow,” Rebecca said. For so many years, the value was on what school and university candidates went to and where they had worked. Instead, there is now more of a focus on skills. 

This will also help develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce. She added that by looking at skills, rather than profiles, you open up the opportunity to a wider talent pool and people from more diverse backgrounds. 

Additionally, Leanne said that companies are putting a lot of effort into DEI and “their hearts are in the right place”, but there needs to be more focus on measuring impact and progress. For example, how inclusive are the flexible working policies. “Employees want to see that DEI is embedded into all your policies and processes,” she said. “The smart organisations are those that adopt these measures”. 

Hiring and retaining talent in the current environment isn’t easy. Employees value diversity and inclusion, and want to work for companies that do the same. For the first time, we have five generations working together, all with different ways of working. If you haven’t already, check out our blog post on what this means for the workplace and those managing a multitude of generations at once. 

At The PIE Exec Search, we are a truly diverse team, with team members from different ethnicities, ages and backgrounds. We can help you secure the best talent, no matter where in the world you are. Get in touch to hear more about us. You can contact Nick Golding, Business Development Director, The PIE, at

You can read more about LinkedIn’s The Future of Recruiting 2023 report here