How to improve diversity through recruitment at University of Edinburgh

We know that recruiting diverse candidates, whether because of their disability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or social background continues to be an area of significant focus for employers. So how can we support you to reach target groups? What is our advice?

Don’t just talk about how diverse you are - show potential candidates.

Your employees really are the best ambassadors of how diverse you are. Make sure you showcase your diversity at every opportunity; the people who staff your stands, the authors of personalised emails, the reps you nominate for careers panels. Where possible involve University of Edinburgh alumni. Students respond to what they see in practice not just words. So make sure your reps are prepared and able to answer questions for example;

  • Why did your organisation set up the initiatives you have to support diversity?
  • Are your efforts in this area genuine or because you have to be seen to act?
  • Have you felt the personal impact of your organisation’s initiatives?
  • What challenges remain?
  • What advice would you give to students who self-identify in an under-represented group?

Think about how the location and format of your student attraction affects how it is perceived

If you are wanting to target lower socio-economic groups of students, hosting a networking dinner or drinks reception at a prestigious hotel may not have the desired effect. Consider how you make the environment and format or your events accessible to the widest range of students.

Review your profile and how you advertise your jobs on MyCareerHub, showcasing your diversity and inclusion

Check your organisation profile includes all the key messages you want students to see about your employer brand and your commitment to diversity. Include links to any in-house diversity networks and encourage potential candidates to research these. If you do have any specific schemes e.g. for students with disabilities/accessibility needs we would recommend stating this clearly in the advert title and content. If you have taken measures to remove barriers, make this obvious – for example you may want to highlight that you will book and pay for travel to interviews. Although reimbursement of travel expenses is common, the initial outlay can be a barrier for some students.


A simple action you can take is to make the salary, or salary range, clear in your adverts.  The #ShowTheSalary campaign orginated in the charity sector, but the reasons to show the salary are equally applicable elsewhere.  

Why you should show the salary

Make connections with our Student Society Liberation Campaigns

You may want to contact our Student Liberation Officers at Edinburgh University Students Association. The Liberation Officers for BME, Disabled Students, LGBT+, Trans & NonBinary and Women run campaigns to provide a safe space where students can come together, discuss the issues affecting them and campaign to improve their student experience. They have Facebook pages and newsletters and may promote activity that fit with their campaigns.

Find out more about the Student Society Liberation Campaigns.

Engage with student societies whose membership may mirror the diverse group you are looking to target.

Remember to look beyond the obvious- we have over 280 societies with a huge range of interest areas for employers to connect in to. Regardless of their expressed area of interest e.g. “Women in STEM, societies can attract a diverse community. Do they hold any statistics on their members? If they are looking for sponsorship/support then try to understand who you are likely to be engaging with.

Find a society on the Edinburgh University Students’ Association Webpage

View the Edinburgh University Sports Union Club Directory

Ask your University of Edinburgh Alumni to engage on Platform One

Peer to peer interactions are always more powerful. Platform One is an online space where the University of Edinburgh community can connect and benefit from sharing knowledge, insight and experience. It’s where staff, students and alumni can share, interact and advise one another, and as a recruiter it can be useful for you to encourage any Edinburgh Alumni in the business to register on the platform. It gives students another way to interact with company reps on a more personal level. It can also be a good way to demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusivity by making sure University of Edinburgh alumni who self-identify in any groups important to your organisation are visible.

Go to Platform One

Engage with Widening Participation students

We know employers are keen to level the playing field. We, at the University of Edinburgh, are already committed to this through. With over 41,000 students that means we have a big pool to draw on.

Read our Contextual Admissions policy

Longer term, you may also want to participate in our Insights programme. Our Insights programme supports widening participation students specifically explore career options. It is a peer-to-peer scheme where UoE alumni working in organisations provide an insight into work for current students.

Find out more about our Insights Programme