Building a diverse recruitment strategy in 2021
It’s never been more important for real and substantial progress to be made on workplace diversity in the UK. For years, governments and employers have declared their commitment to racial equality and yet, vast inequality and biases continue to exist.
The time for change has come. At the moment, less than 1% of job applications in the UK are anonymised. A figure that needs to change quickly, if employers want to make the most of talent and leave race, appearance and gender out of the equation when it comes to recruitment.
Building a recruitment strategy that does not discriminate
As a first step, we need to stop hiding behind the thin veil of ‘unconscious bias’. It is vital that employers approach their recruitment strategy with clear objectives, and this leaves no room for prejudice of any form.
Many of the biases found in the workplace are a result of a system that benefits a certain group of people. This doesn’t only affect those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, but women, those with disabilities or anyone who has experienced discrimination based upon preconceived notions of what makes a good employee.
Remedying this will involve an honest and critical evaluation of every stage of the recruitment process, from how individuals are hired to how they are supported to progress and fulfil their potential. The importance of effective mentoring, role models and networks needs to be understood and valued at all levels of an organisation, with business leaders taking responsibility for creating truly inclusive work environments.
Using the right technology
The importance of using the right technologies to achieve these goals cannot be overstated. Wielding the right tools brings anonymity and impartiality to the table, removing the details that often distract from a candidate’s skills and expertise.
An anonymised application process is one of the key ways that technology can be leveraged to remove unconscious bias from the equation. This allows hiring managers and decision makers to review applications without prior knowledge about each applicant’s race, gender or appearance. Harnessing such a tool can diversify a business’s recruitment process, ultimately creating a more diverse and inclusive environment.
While more can always be done to remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process, new data, based on the use of anonymised hiring processes, shows that anonymised applications across the UK have jumped an astounding 48,031 (271%) when compared to last year. This promising rise demonstrates that more businesses are finally putting ED&I at the heart of their recruiting strategy; choosing new hires based solely on their talent, rather than their background.
The sectors getting it right
The public sector, infrastructure, professional services, charities and finance industries lead the way in anonymising applications during the recruitment process. Data on anonymised job applications reveals that the practice has risen by an encouraging 271% across the UK, as companies respond to widespread calls to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) during the recruitment process.
The public sector accounted for 56% of the 271% increase in anonymised applications across all sectors analysed. This is evidence that the public sector is putting pledges to improve D&I into action through using technology to make the recruitment process fairer for everyone. This is telling of a much wider trend of businesses opting for a ‘blind’ recruitment process without bias.
Working towards inclusivity in the workplace
It’s never been more important for businesses to remove unconscious biases from the hiring process. Cutting out this barrier sets the tone for a more inclusive, diverse workforce that values people of all backgrounds.
To have a truly diverse talent pool in the workplace, businesses need to build diverse recruitment programs that ensure everyone has equal opportunity to succeed, grow and thrive – whatever their background. The technology and know-how is already available to remove unconscious bias from recruitment processes. Businesses should take advantage of this opportunity to remain open to candidates of all backgrounds.
Dean Sadler is the CEO and founder at specialist recruitment software provider Tribepad. Prior to Tribepad, after travelling the globe and working as a bus driver, Dean started a PhD in computing before joining a startup called Plusnet. He wrote the billing and CRM platform, became CIO and helped grow the business from a handful of employees to...