Research reveals ‘significant’ drop-off in ethnic minorities progressing at work
Unconscious bias continues to play a role during all stages of recruitment of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates, according to the latest Recruitment Trends survey from Business in the Community (BITC).
This is despite the number of organisations introducing ethnically diverse interview panels almost doubling in the three years to 2014.
BITC findings show that fewer than 50 per cent of employers ensure this is a regular practice in their organisation.
Up to 114 organisations participated in the 2014 Gender and Race Benchmark for BITC, with 86 organisations submitting data on ethnicity.
The data revealed that employers show greater bias against BAME candidates during application, through to short listing and interview, to job offer, with an additional bias for BAME men during recruitment.
According to the evidence, the disparity between the proportion of men applying for jobs and being hired is greater than it if for BAME women.
On average, a BAME candidate will have to apply for many more jobs than the average white candidate for the best chance of successfully gaining employment.
And despite efforts to open up the job market to younger people – an age range where the wider BAME population is well represented – BITC reports of a “significant drop-off” in the proportion of BAME graduates and apprentices progressing from application to hire stages of recruitment.
The report said employers should target more diverse candidates at recruitment fairs, mandate unconscious bias training for all staff during recruitment and recommended using a variety of recruitment sources to attract a wider pool of applicants.
Commenting on the lack of BAME candidates successfully moving up inside an organisation, a spokesman for Business in the Community’s Race for Opportunity (RfO) said: “Race for Opportunity believes that career progression should be about merit, and so we do not advocate positive discrimination.
“We encourage diverse recruitment panels, where possible – although understand this may not be possible for all roles if those teams / that workforce is under-representative of ethnic minorities."
The report concludes with a number of ‘calls to action’ including a complete review of all recruitment practices across the UK, and a proposal for all organisations to publicly report their recruitment targets.
“This is not the only effective intervention open to HR functions in ensuring that recruitment processes are equal to all. HR functions must also ensure that every stage of recruitment is ‘equality-proofed’ – from attraction, application, shortlist to hire. This can include re-examining language in job descriptions, using a variety of recruitment resources and methods, mandating unconscious bias training for all staff involved in recruitment and monitoring BAME applicants’ progression through the recruitment process,” the RfO spokesman added.