Graduates think nepotism trumps diversity in recruitment
Emma Greedy, December 01, 2020
UK students are concerned hiring decisions are based on nepotism and physical appearance rather than talent.
The majority of HR decision makers (59%) in the survey Defining the Buzzword said they think their business is already doing enough to recruit a diverse workforce, but 81% of students and graduates disagree.
Physical appearance (58%) was identified as the top identity trait students think has the greatest influence on companies’ recruitment, followed closely by race and/or ethnicity (52%) and nationality (52%).
The survey also found 81% of students think nepotism is still a major factor when it comes to who is offered a job, yet only 6% of HR decision makers agree.
Georgina Day, graduate jobs expert at graduate job site Milkround, said that the survey highlights a disconnect between employers and graduates.
A quarter (23%) of HR decision makers admitted their company does not currently have any diversity and inclusion recruitment strategies in place.
Two thirds (62%) of students and graduates said they would like to see more companies introduce blind recruitment where a candidate’s personal details are not requested or are removed from applications to limit the impact of unconscious bias.
Currently 14% of employers reported practicing blind recruitment, and a third of those not practicing it (37%) are planning to implement this strategy in the near future.
The diversity of a company’s workforce is important for graduates when applying for jobs - over a third (34%) said they consider how committed a company is to D&I before applying for a job role.
This rose among often underrepresented members including women (39%), those from multiple ethnic groups (46%), and non-binary people (73%).
The report concluded by recommending unconscious bias training and education should be a key priority for all companies.
It also said employers needed to do more to communicate their actions internally to show employees what they are doing to attract a more diverse workforce and increase applications amongst talented entry-level students and graduates.
Day concluded: “Employers must ensure they have the right processes in place so that they’re receiving applications from the best talent, regardless of background.
“It’s then a case of clearly articulating what these processes are to potential applicants, reassuring them that they’re taking part in a fair recruitment process based on skills and experience, not personal characteristics.”
Milkround surveyed 250 HR and recruitment decision makers through Opinium between 28 September and 2 October, and 1,000 students and recent graduates through Student Hut between 6 October and 20 October.