Anonymous job applications – ending discrimination

I have blogged several times about my idea to make use of anonymous job applications – so as to end the subliminal discrimination that creeps in with some applications being discarded because of the names on them.

I floated my idea during the Second Reading of the Equality Bill and it caused quite a hoo ha. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development waded in to support the idea – albeit they didn’t think it should be mandatory. Some Human Resource departments were less happy and thought it a stupid idea. Well – it will be interesting to see what they say in response to the evidence that’s now been gathered.

Because – when I spoke to my amendment on anonymous job applications in the Committee Stage of the Equality Bill, I was absolutely thrilled with the Solicitor General’s response:

The Solicitor-General: That is a valid point and perhaps what we ought to do is experiment, which is what we are seeking to do in that the Department for Work and Pensions [DWP] has carried out a CV research exercise. Two carefully matched applications or CVs with names recognised as having different ethnicities have been submitted in response to the same advertised vacancies to see whether employers make different decisions depending on the names in the CVs. That research will be reported in the summer—I am sorry that I do not have an answer now, having tantalisingly mentioned the subject. The initial indications are that there is significant discrimination, so more work needs to be done to find an appropriate solution.

So – initial findings are of significant discrimination. And whilst it is clearly early days and the DWP is going to do more work – it seems clear to me that – first – those who argued there isn’t a problem which needs fixing in particular need to look very closely at what the DWP has been finding, and second – here is a simple proposal which costs business nothing but could actually deliver enormous benefits in removing discrimination in the job market.

Removing such discrimination is not only important in itself – but by providing people with equal opportunities to earn their living, it opens up all sorts of other knock-on benefits in terms of social cohesion and economic efficiency, which we all benefit from.

So once we see what the rest of the research shows – I’m hopeful that we will have a proposal that is easy, not burdensome and brings major benefits – and that of course the Government will in its wisdom decide to adopt it!

I trust that the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) will also step up to the plate and advocate anonymous job applications – and I will be writing to them as soon as I get a minute to rub together.

0 thoughts on “Anonymous job applications – ending discrimination

  1. I was heartened to see this being raised as I am a great advocate of anonymous job applications. I think perhaps, noone likes being confronted with their own prejudices but hopefully the research, as indicated, will spur the measure on and provide an argument against some of the 'head in sand' approaches. I really hope that it is picked up on.

  2. Lynne, thank you so much for your efforts on this issue which I have followed given my interest in HIV & mental health matters.I read the debate and found your EDM 1547. My enquires hopefully will see David Borrows MP & Diane Abbott MP also sign your motion and Evan Harris MP responded that he will be signing it. I have encouraged users of my site, http://www.tcell.org.uk to write to their MP's to also get them to sign. I wish I could hope my MP will sign but I have no grounds to do so.This is a key issue affecting many disabled people, if we are interested in equality than employment is on merit. A pre-employment questionaire merely gives employers an "out" from employing the right person just because they have a disability. I wonder how difficult it would be to seek a solution here using the DDA.For smaller businesses where cost is an issue than the government needs to offer financial support to them to negate the costs of any reasonable adjustment that carries a substantial cost to them. Larger business of course are able to more readily absorb these costs. However, most changes cost very little if anything.Once a job offer has been made then a discussion on facilitating that employment could be held.You have been a champion here and I thank you.John@tcell.org.ukhttp://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/clause-36-equality-bill-early-day-motion-1547-hiv-and-pre-employment-questionnaires

  3. Sounds vastly more sensible the ridiculous pay audits that compare apples with pears and come up with pay gaps which are caused by people being more hard working, or mor e experienced rather than due to actual discriminationTalking of pay gaps, it was nice to see Harman given a official warning for once again exaggerating statistics – this government really cannot be trusted to tell the truth, with Harmn being the worst of the lot.

  4. Anonymous applications is a good thought, but i cant see it working in my head….

  5. Great idea.I have had to give interviews to candidates who are not suitable merely because they were disabled excluding an able bodied candidate to do so.It's not fair. Selection should be on merit alone.