A cross section of employers and university admissions body UCAS yesterday made a commitment to select candidates for jobs and university places on a “name blind” basis, a step that is thought could help improve diversity by helping to counter “unconscious bias”.
Prime minister David Cameron yesterday announced that the civil service, Teach First, HSBC, Deloitte, Virgin Money, KPMG, BBC, NHS, learndirect and local government – which together employ 1.8 million people – will all change their recruitment procedures. And Cameron also said that UCAS will make its applications “name-blind” from 2017.
It is understood that the UCAS will identify candidates by a code when students’ application forms are sent to universities for an initial assessment.
"It goes beyond names, people can make inappropriate decisions because of other aspects of our personal identity [such as educational background]. And these things can happen throughout the whole recruitment process."
Dianah Worman, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
The government also held round-table discussion on recruitment and diversity, attended by representatives of the employers above and also Dianah Worman, diversity adviser for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The meeting discussed how organisations can spread opportunity and champion diversity in the workplace.
The round-table event was led by the prime minister and focused on recruitment practices, progression and retention as well as senior representation, including at board level.
Worman, who has worked in the diversity field for over 25 years, told Construction Manager that the “name blind” technique would allow everyone a fair chance at the initial selection process, and was especially important in industries facing skills shortages.
But she added that it should form only part of companies’ overhaul of their recruitment practices to address unconscious bias.
“It goes beyond names, people can make inappropriate decisions because of other aspects of our personal identity [such as educational background]. And these things can happen throughout the whole recruitment process.
“Employers need to take stock of the entire system, and be more professional and objective.”
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Worman also said that evidence presented by the employers present at the round table showed that switching to name blind recruitment had resulted in a change in the profile of the people being hired.
In a press release, the CIPD said that it was “actively promoting the benefits of name-blind recruitment to its membership [of chartered HR professionals] and will be working towards embedding this as standard through its training and development courses. This is an important part of encouraging and building more diverse workforces for the future, and we look forward to broadening the diversity debate with the government and organisations.”
The benefits of anonymous CVs were highlighted in the CIPD’s recent report – A head for hiring: The behavioural science of recruitment and selection.