Last month, David Cameron pledged government support to ‘name blind CV’ schemes in a bid to prevent what he called ‘disgraceful discrimination’ whereby recruiters reject applicants based purely on their names. On 26th October he announced that the civil service will begin to process applications on a ‘name blind’ basis, ensuring that applicants are judged by their skills and experience only, and tackling the bias whereby recruiters reject applicants with ‘ethnic sounding’ names, whether consciously or subconsciously.
The move follows commitments made at the Conservative Party Conference to end this bias, which has meant that people with ‘white sounding’ names have been twice as likely to get call backs about jobs than those with ‘ethnic’ names, with Cameron commenting: “One young black girl had to change her name to Elizabeth before she got any calls to interviews. That, in 21st-century Britain, is disgraceful.”
A number of organisations have also signed up to the scheme, with the list including big names such as, Teach First, UCAS, Virgin Money, KPMG, BBC, NHS, and HSBC.
The effectiveness of name blind recruitment schemes in tackling discrimination is open to debate. Whilst they might be helpful in removing bias at the application shortlisting stage, interviews still have to take place face to face, allowing any prejudices of recruiters to come into play. However, name blind CVs represent a significant change in recruitment practices, and may pave the way for a more radical overhaul to ensure job applicants are fairly considered for roles.
If you are looking for advice on tackling discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with your usual Brodies’ contact.
On November 24, 2015