Recruiting Talent in the AV Industry? Company Values Matter.
Company values matter. They impact how your business runs, they impact our society, and, according to new data, they hold substantial importance to the ProAV workforce.
The link between company values and hiring is not an entirely new topic. In recent years, more and more data has shown that workers place meaningful importance on what companies stand for when they choose where to work. (Note: Research has traditionally focused on values in general without picking out a specific subject or cause.) The importance is such that workers are willing to give up real money to ensure their labor is spent at an organization they feel good about—at least in the wider economy.
This year, we leveraged our massive annual salary survey to assess if ProAV workers also put such significance on company ethics. The answer is a decisive yes. AVIXA’s data, drawn from over 5,000 ProAV professionals worldwide, shows that company values/ethics are a top 3 factor for choosing a job — after only the core factors of base pay and opportunities for growth (Figure 1). This places it above remote work, flexible scheduling, bonuses, good coworker relationships, and many others. It matters.
Figure 1. When considering a job, which trait is most important to you?
Interestingly, while the common narrative from the wider economy is that the importance of company values and ethics is a young-worker-focused phenomenon, Pro AV appears different. In Figure 2, we break out the company values/ethics bar by those 30 and under vs. 31 and over. Surprisingly, the older group placed higher importance on company values/ethics than the younger group. Our industry cannot dismiss the trend of choosing employment based on ethics as a youthful fancy. It’s a value to people of all ages in ProAV.
Figure 2. Importance of Company Values/Ethics by Age
This data comes during an important phase for ProAV. With the massive rebound in ProAV revenue last year —leading to a new record high—our industry is working hard to draw in more and more workers. We see this play out in our monthly tracking data, which shows hiring difficulties as the second most challenging issue for pro AV businesses, increasingly close behind supply problems.
The Intersection of Recruiting and DEI
With all this in mind, we want to spotlight diversity, equity, and inclusion in ProAV. As we’ve covered in previous research, our industry has, statistically speaking, struggled to be a welcoming place for all possible workers. Globally, our industry skews heavily male. In the U.S., our industry skews heavily white. For an industry struggling to recruit, these skews are a real problem!
Companies seeking to express positive values more clearly have many options. Charities, volunteerism, environmentalism — so many valid choices. We focus on DEI here for two reasons. First, there’s our previous research highlighting how our industry falls short. Second, taking on the issue of welcoming and including people of all backgrounds could benefit recruiting on multiple levels. Not only can you hire more effectively when people see your company expressing its inclusive ethics, but you also gain applicants when you diversify the range of talent you attract.
This is also a delicate moment for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the U.S. This summer, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, where protected classes could be given preference based on their group’s historical disadvantage. While the case was decided about university admissions, legal scholars say it will also apply to corporate policies. While this decision does take some tools out of the box, businesses retain many options to broaden their recruitment and live their welcoming values.
Here are a few ProAV-specific options:
Theater: Theater majors are over 60% women, as compared to under 20% for engineering. Specialists in technical theater — which includes the AV of theater — have the core skills and demonstrated interest to quickly contribute in many AV roles. Share your open positions with these communities at your local universities, and make sure they’re communicated in a way that highlights the overlapping skills and reasons to be interested.
Construction: Did you know that 30% of U.S. construction workers are Hispanic? If you’re hiring for a job that could be filled by someone with a construction background, consider also posting the job in Spanish. Even if you require candidates to speak English, posting in Spanish is a welcome sign to applicants who might not consider you otherwise. There’s a huge supply of skilled Hispanic construction workers, and the right recruiting could draw them to your company.
HBCUs: There are 107 HBCUs serving 228,000 students in the US. Many companies already recruit at local universities, but have you double-checked to make sure you’ve included your nearby HBCUs? There may be more options than you realize, since their names are often less familiar to those outside the Black community. And the volume is so significant!
A Few More Small Ones: There are a number of ProAV-specific programs out there that work with our industry’s underrepresented groups. In no particular order, Sound Girls, The Loop Lab, the Diverse Media Institute and #GALSNGEAR are all organizations to add to your recruiting network. They don’t represent the total volume of the previous ideas, but they align more closely with ProAV.
To stress, all these ideas are additive. We mean that in several ways. First, they are additive in the sense that they can all be done at the same time. Second, they are additive in that they are opening doors, not closing them. I.e., making sure the HBCU engineer has the same opportunity other engineers do, not favoring one over the other. And third, they are additive in the sense that they can help your company perform better: The best candidates come from the broadest pools, and research shows that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones.
In the post-pandemic era, ProAV remains in a hiring phase. New research reveals that your company values significantly impact recruiting success. Diversity, equity, and inclusion represent a way for you to demonstrate your company ethics and address the ongoing hiring challenge. There are many ways to access untapped (or under-tapped) populations, welcoming different types of skilled workers and showing the character of your company. We’ve shared some ideas here, but it’s the tip of the iceberg. Let your creativity loose, open your doors to new ideas and new people, and you’ll be surprised at the progress you can make!