Diversity in companies is an extremely important issue in 2019, as I’m sure we can all agree. Companies are taking different methods to boost members of the BAME (Black, Asian & minority ethnic) community as well as trying to bridge the gender gaps in their workforces - to equip themselves for the 21st Century, and an ever-connected world of cultures.
One way employers are attempting to boost this is by setting no minimum entry grades for their graduate recruits. This strategy has more than doubled in the past 5 years going from 7% of ISE employers in 2014 to 22% in 2019. The amount of employers wanting a 2:1 degree has also dropped in this period from 67% to 57%.
The general idea is that by encouraging more applicants you get applications from members with different backgrounds and beliefs, some of whom may not have felt they belonged in that industry...with the end result being a hope to develop a more diverse workforce. Yay! On paper this makes sense but of course it is dependant on who the company actually employs in the end.
After all the national LGBT survey saw that some people felt that they struggled to find work due to their sexual preferences with some claiming they found difficulty finding work only after they began transitioning. The House of Commons released data showing the female employment rate is currently sitting at 71.4% of the UK’s workforce while the employment rate for men is sat at 80.3% meaning the gap between employment rates is just under 9% which is the lowest it has been since 1971 - when it was 11.5%. Progress for sure, but there’s still some way to go until the gap is where we’d all like it to be.
Having a more diverse workforce from different backgrounds creates an environment of individuals, rich in varied backgrounds, with different ideas and approaches to the job at hand. Overall this can create a more efficient company with more awareness of its customers' needs, so it’s obvious why companies would want this. Firms this year have been giving higher priority to all diversity issues to promote this.
Another change is that 36% of graduate employers are now undertaking something called blind recruitment. No this isn’t the recruiters blindfolding themselves and then picking names out of a hat to decide who gets the job; It’s the removal of the applicants name and/or university from their application form.
Relying on grades alone gives advantages to particular communities based on pre-conceived ideas of success (a very old, prestigious university for example) so by removing companies can hope to stop potential young stars slipping through the cracks. It is also said that relying on grades alone may be “too broad a brush” to identity the people that employers are actually looking for.
Seems like a logical and fair way to work through the grad job applicants eh?
The times are truly a’changing Bob.
This might all seem very exciting and like a big shift in the way that graduate companies are recruiting in 2019 but we at Push must stress it’s important to not get too carried away with all this. More than half of employers are still using 2:1 as an entry requirement, so this isn’t an excuse for you to bunk off lectures and sit with your feet up dreaming of blindfolds (easy now). You still have to make sure you’re getting those grades and enhancing a desirable mix of soft (transferable) skills to make you an attractive applicant for companies no matter what the recruitment policy. Hopefully this is just the start of companies doing their bit to boost diversity in the workplace and ensuring everyone feels wanted and comfortable in their jobs.
As far as Push is concerned you can’t go too far with equality just for equality's sake - so companies should also be thinking of other ways in which they can improve their social mobility.
ARON TENNANT is the Talks and Editorial manager for Push. He is originally from South Yorkshire and has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sheffield. He also has an MA in Creative Play and Screenwriting from City, University of London and came runner up in Nickelodeon's international screenwriting competition in 2018. Alongside Push he does screenplay work for independent production companies and is working on his own independent film projects.
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