CBI: Name-blind applications needed to improve diversity

Candidate’s names should be removed from job applications to stop bias, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

To create a more inclusive workplace, the employment body’s new report is also calling for flexible working options to be offered from the outset of the recruitment process – The Guardian reports.

“Workplaces that are both diverse and inclusive are associated with higher individual performance because employees are better able to innovate (+83%) and are more engaged,” the report reads.

Paul Drechsler, President of the CBI, says: “With UK productivity second from bottom of the G7, employee engagement is, now more than ever, crucial to driving productivity. But here too there’s a problem. Of the world’s 12 largest economies the UK ranks ninth for levels of engagement.

“Raising engagement isn’t about slapping another zero on the budget for the staff Christmas party. It’s a complex process which takes time and hard work.”

Citing statistics from the CIPD, the report highlights that one in five female jobseekers from an ethnic minority have changed their name on a job application.

The report also found that over half of leaders (59%) say that the lack of diversity in their sector is preventing them from achieving their business’ diversity targets.

Drechsler says unconscious bias is a challenge: “The first time many come into contact with this in the workplace is during job applications. One of the ways of tackling this is name-blind applications, removing criteria that could unintentionally bias managers and give under-represented groups confidence that their application will be fairly considered,” he says.

The report also highlights that over half of UK employers offer flexible working but it is advertised in fewer than one in ten job adverts, citing data from Hire Me My Way.

CBI recommends that flexible working options should also be stated in job advertisements to attract a diverse talent pool.

Drechsler says: “Flexible working can be a vital enabler too. It’s time we stopped seeing flexible working as a ‘bonus for staff’ and started seeing it as something which has clear benefits for employers and employees alike. It helps everyone balance their working lives not just with their responsibilities as parents or carers but also with their wellbeing and interests outside of work.”

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