A rose by any other name
This week, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed several major employers had pledged to adopt a new recruitment practice – one which would anonymise job applications and eliminate any potential unconscious bias.
“In other words, [they] make them name-blind,” explained the Tory leader. “That means those assessing applications will not be able to see the person’s name, so the ethnic or religious background it might imply cannot influence their prospects.”
Cameron confirmed a bevy of top organizations had already agreed to the proposal, including the civil service, HSBC, Deloitte, KPMG and the NHS.
“All these and more will now recruit people solely on merit,” he told The Guardian – adding that, taken together, the organizations employ approximately 1.8 million people.
The measure doesn’t just apply to employers – by 2017, all university applications will also be anonymous.
Publish your pay gaps
Anonymising job applications is just the latest measure imposed upon UK employers – earlier this year, companies with 250 workers or more were made to publish information on gender pay gaps, including bonuses.
“[It] will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women's wages up,” Cameron told The Times – but some employers were sceptical.
"His intention is that it will drive women's wages up. In reality, it is just as likely, over time, to drive wages down or cause other unintended consequences, which will be bad for the economy," wrote James Quinn, group business editor of the Telegraph Media Group.
"Quotas, rules and placing extra costs on business are not the way to ensure diversity in the workplace,’ he added.
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Employers around the world are being compelled to follow the UK’s lead, as the nation continues to implement radical measures addressing workplace inequality.