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Ethnicity biggest limiting factor for job seekers

Yvonne Smyth

Over half (52 percent) of professionals believe their chances of being selected for a job have been lowered because of an identifying factor; 91 percent of professionals with black heritage and 81 percent with Asian heritage believe their changes of selection for a job have been reduced because of their ethnicity. Contributor Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion – Hays.

Over half (52 percent) of professionals believe their chances of being selected for a job have been lowered because of an identifying factor, according to over 5,200 respondents surveyed in the Hays Diversity & Inclusion 2019 report.

More than nine in ten (91 percent) professionals with black heritage and 81 percent with Asian heritage believe their chances of selection for a job have been reduced because of their ethnicity. This is compared to only 18 percent of those with white British heritage.

Age is another significant perceived inequality, as 83 percent of those aged 55 and over feel their selection chances have been restricted. Women are more than twice as likely to feel their chances of selection are lowered due to their gender identity than men (42 percent and 18 percent respectively), as are members of the LGBTQ+ community (41 percent) and people with disabilities (37 percent). 

Blind recruitment and diverse interview panels can level the playing field
Knowing that an employer uses blind recruitment in their selection process gives two thirds (66 percent) of professionals more confidence that they will be fairly considered. Despite this, only 23 percent say their organisation uses blind recruitment techniques.

81 percent of people with Asian heritage and 75 percent of those with black heritage feel more confident in an organisation which implements blind recruitment, as do 72 percent of females surveyed. 

Alongside blind recruitment, 78 percent of respondents believe introducing diverse interview panels will have a significant impact on the selection and hiring of diverse talent. Currently, only 43 percent of organisations implement this.

A technique used more widely (66 percent of organisations) is a structured interview process, which almost four in five (79 percent) believe would have a positive impact on diverse hiring. Many organisations, however, fall down when it comes to adjusting tests and assessments to make them fair for disabilities. 82 percent think this would have a positive impact, but less than half (45 percent) have adapted their assessments accordingly.

Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Hays, said: “It’s clear from our research that despite greater awareness of the impact of unconscious bias, most professionals still feel their chances of being chosen for a job have been hindered based on identifying factors, particularly when it comes to ethnicity.

Our findings indicate that in order to address this, employers need to look at the beginning of their recruitment process and consider implementing blind recruitment techniques as well as diversifying their interview panels.”

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