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.