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Handshake Hacks, Product Development

DEI report templates to drive equitable engagement

New saved DEI report templates provide a basis for student engagement analysis across gender, race, and ethnicity.

As schools monitor engagement trends in Handshake, it’s important to dig into campus-wide metrics to ensure you’re reaching the students who would benefit most. Tracking engagement across student demographics like gender, race and ethnicity can help you identify which students are and aren’t taking advantage of your services. This information helps you adapt your engagement strategy and drive more equitable outcomes.

Handshake’s DEI report templates

Handshake has released 14 new saved DEI report templates to help you with this analysis. Each report gives you a breakdown of engagement by student gender or race/ethnicity for a different activity in Handshake.

NOTE: In order to use the reports, your school must be importing student gender and race/ethnicity. Learn more about importing gender and race/ethnicity data here.

The reports provide a jumping off point for analysis. You can use them out of the box to compare the demographic breakdown of student activities in Handshake to the demographic breakdown of your student body as a whole. You can also add additional fields and filters for a deeper analysis. The reports filter out alumni by default—you can change this via the school year filter at the top of each report.

Read on for an introduction to the reports and recommendations on how to interpret them.

Using the DEI anchor reports as your baseline

Two “anchor” reports show you the institution-wide breakdown of student gender and race/ethnicity.

You’ll compare subsequent reports to these anchors when looking for engagement gaps.

NOTE: When reviewing the anchor reports, be sure to check the count of students in different gender, race, and ethnicity groups in addition to the overall percentage. Both will help you understand whether you have imported data for your entire student body or just a portion of it.

Using the DEI report templates to identify engagement gaps

Each DEI report highlights the gender or race/ethnicity breakdown of student participation in key activities on Handshake:

Activations (i.e. Handshake logins)

Profile completion


Career fair participation

Appointment participation

First destination survey outcomes

To look for engagement gaps, run one of the reports above. Compare the results to the corresponding anchor report.

For example, if the percent of women attending appointments is lower than the percentage of women overall, you’ve identified an engagement gap. You might seek to close this gap by:

  • Running targeted appointment marketing to women
  • Partnering with women-led organizations on campus to drive awareness
  • Running a survey with women to dig into their perception of appointments.

More recommendations for using the DEI reports

Use pivots and filters to dig deeper

After identifying an engagement gap, we recommend going a level deeper. Handshake reports give you access to a wide variety of pivots and filters that can help you identify even more specific groups of students where engagement is lower and explore intersectionality within your student population.

Going back to the appointments example, you might add:

  • A “first gen” filter to explore how first gen women are engaging with appointments
  • An “appointment type” filter to look at how women engage with resume review appointments
  • A pivot on race/ethnicity to explore trends around Black or Latinx women participation in appointments
  • A pivot on major to identify which academic departments you could partner with to drive awareness

Interpretation is only as good as data quality

Reports and dashboards rely on the datasets that power them. Review the anchor reports to understand how demographic data are recorded within your institution. Think about what can be said with certainty and what is limited by currently available data.

NOTE: After you import race/ethnicity onto the student account, students are able to change it. You may see their custom responses reflected in your data set. We’re currently running research sessions with students to inform an update allowing students to self-report their race/ethnicity.

In cases where student ethnicity or gender identification is unknown, consider if there is some meaningful reason why a certain group may be more or less likely to self-identify their gender or ethnicity (also known as “non-response bias”). Oftentimes, this can be an indicator of a student group that can be supported further and encouraged to engage with the platform.

Learn more about interpreting gender and ethnicity data in Handshake here.

Understand the limitations of gender, race, and ethnicity categories

Be aware of the ongoing conversations around gender identification and ethnicity. For instance, policy reports and advocacy groups have called for the disaggregation of the “Asian” ethnic category given the wide disparity of income and experience within its subgroups.

Additionally, reports from college associations and advocacy groups underscore how a recorded field may not reflect the student’s present gender identity. This could be due to a limited selection of fields at the initial collection or an outdated response. Placing report findings within a broader strategic context will help better target engagement gaps and promote equity.

NOTE: Handshake allows students to self-report their gender. This information is not currently available in these reports, though we hope to incorporate it in the future.

Want to learn how workplace diversity influences the job choices of over 1,000 college student job seekers? Learn what students had to say in the first Handshake Network Trends report: Gender, Equity, and Gen Z.

Level the playing field for your students