Recent research by the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, has revealed that recruitment discrimination is as bad as it was in the late 60s
Despite all the legislation passed in the mean time bias in work place recruitment is showing leaves of discrimination not seen since the 1960s. Herculean efforts by HR to design and monitor recruitment processes that tackled institutional racism and individual bias were assumed to have significantly reduced the opportunities for discrimination. Processes that required short listing against person specifications agreed by HR , application forms rather than CVs designed to focus on the posts essential requirements, balanced interview panels and training in equality for recruiters, even removing applicants names to prevent selection panels bias against foreign sounding names. Supplemented by monitoring against recruitment targets. These processes and revised application forms did appear to be tackling institutional racism.
So what has gone wrong? The levels of discrimination identified by this new research indicate the limitations of HR in tackling bias in recruiters. What reversed the positive progress that had been made since the bad old days of Enoch Powell, skinheads and anti immigration? The answer is austerity and Brexit. Austerity and its focus on efficiency and budget has put equality and diversity on the back burner. Brexit has made it acceptable to express anti foreigner rhetoric. And HR can’t compensate for an individual’s willingness to discriminate, but it can try.
Blair Mcpherson former Director author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk