Every industry struggles with diversity in some shape or form.  Some achieve it better than others.  For Building Products and Construction businesses this is intensified.  There has been an abundance of debate on this subject within the industry, especially throughout the past decade.  

When taking briefs from clients I am continually challenged to open any shortlist up to, in particular, include female applicants.  The problem we face is, for certain disciplines, there simply isn't a talent pool to tap into.

However, for me, diversity particularly allows a client a richer and broader viewpoint within their leadership teams.  When entering the building materials market in 2004 I recall a client mentioning their specific product range and market was especially incestuous.  Back then I didn't particularly know what he meant by this.  17 years on and I certain do now!

As an industry we're terrible for keeping it safe and plumping for those with the "little black book of contacts" when offering roles.  

Earlier this year I met with a national distributor from within the sector who wanted to partner with a headhunter to specifically combat this issue.  Hiring directors were too focused on competitors and bringing in safe options. It was viewed that the talent pool from these competitors were weak and often recycled; after all, this distributor is the market leader, with turnover in excess of £1bn.

Having recruited their Marketing Director four years ago, I am currently working with a large system house within fenestration in securing a newly created directorship level role to their UK board. Much like the previous assignment, my brief has been to branch out from building products and into any B2B oriented environment.  

For both the above examples, the results have yielded a rich array of skills, viewpoints and experiences that inevitably provide a huge amount of value to their boardrooms and, ultimately, bottom lines.

And so, although as a sector we still struggle to bring in people from different races, creeds and genders, diversity should be a bigger word and important subject.  Make sure you're maximizing the return from using a headhunting partner and don't become too blinkered in your approach.