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Third of managers not trained in how to avoid unconscious bias

Alex Fleming
city worker

New research has found that 39 percent  of UK hiring managers have not received training in unconscious bias best-practice as part of the recruitment process in their current company. Contributor Alex Fleming, President of General Staffing, The Adecco Group UK and Ireland.

This is despite the largest number of respondents (26 percent ) thinking that having regular training would be the most effective way to eliminate unconscious bias as part of the recruitment process, followed by 17 percent  who think that removing age from CVs would have the biggest impact.

The research also revealed that two years since then prime minister, David Cameron, launched a pledge to tackle discrimination by recruiting on a ‘name blind’ basis, over half (65 percent ) of UK organisations are still not using blind CVs.

In fact, if forced to remove one piece of information from CVs, more than double would remove hobbies (23 percent ) rather than names (8 percent ) to tackle unconscious bias. What’s more, just 10 percent  of respondents think that removing pictures on CVs would help people to make unbiased decisions in the recruitment process.

Alex Fleming, President of General Staffing, The Adecco Group UK and Ireland, commented: “Despite unconscious bias being as big an issue as ever, too many organisations are still not taking active steps to tackle the problem. Training hiring managers in unconscious bias practice and using blind CVs are relatively easy actions for organisations to take, so it’s concerning that their deployment remains relatively low.”

Surprisingly, considering the relatively low adoption of traditional methods, a fifth (20 percent ) of companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) or technology to help eliminate unconscious bias. A further 25 percent  are not currently using AI or technology but are looking to introduce it as part of the recruitment process.

Fleming continued: “More encouraging is the fact that we are seeing businesses turn to AI and technology to help tackle unconscious bias as part of the recruitment process. With many people having questioned the effectiveness of other tactics, such as blind CVs, this might prove a more successful long-term solution.

However, until this new technology becomes established, organisations must actively introduce other measures, including unconscious bias training, to ensure they are always hiring the best person for the job. Proactively addressing unconscious bias will not just bolster a company’s reputation and help them remain competitive, but the resulting increase in workplace diversity can also deliver improved business outcomes.”


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