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Half from disadvantaged backgrounds find recruitment unfair

New research has revealed 50% of jobseekers from lower socio-economic backgrounds feel they are missing out on employment opportunities because the recruitment process is "unfair” towards them.

The finding, from EdTech start-up, Forage, examined the experiences of more than 2,200 jobseekers, and found that half of them felt "overlooked".

Speaking to HR magazine, Serena Brown, global head of corporate citizenship, KMPG International, said: “It’s a travesty that, globally, there are millions of open jobs, and there are companies all with diversity targets, but young people still find it hard to make the transition into work.”

She added: “This statistic is obviously shocking and unjust, and more needs to be done to address it.”

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Among the findings of its report, Forage found jobseekers wanted recruiters to incorporate the use of blind interviews into the recruitment process; transition away from Russell-Group universities, and have interview processes where there were no questions raised about someone’s ethnic background.

Brown said: “Exclusion has been an issue we’ve been working on for many years. As part of this we run numerous initiatives, including having ‘insights’ events, where, for instance, women and those of black heritage can come in, and become excited about having a career in professional services.

"We also work with schools in areas of economic and social deprivation, and work with The Princes Trust.”

KPMG’s stated aim is to have one third of its employees come from working class backgrounds by 2030.

Responding to the research Steve Warnham, content and communications manager, Total Jobs said: “Unfortunately, many barriers exist for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and the latest research findings from Forage highlight the need for conversations about this important topic to continue.”

Total Job has partnered with the Social Mobility Foundation to address exactly these issues.

Warnham added: “It is our hope that with record numbers of job vacancies in the UK, there can be a move towards more inclusive hiring strategies.

"We partnered with the Social Mobility Foundation to produce an advice checklist to support improving social mobility as businesses recruit. We have also launched 'Equality Boost', which uses technology to allow employers to target job adverts to those in social mobility cold spots.”

According to the Forage study, some 54% of participants identified as minority ethnic, 30% reported as being either a refugee, asylum seeker or migrant and 83% stated that they attended non-fee paying schools in the UK.

The data supports earlier research from The Sutton Trust, which finds 20% of working class graduates said they could not afford to take an unpaid work placement.

Other companies tackling this area include EY. It removed the need for academic entry requirements in 2015. It has also adopted a blind CV recruitment process. Strongest performers now progress on merit.


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