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Future of HR 2019

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F U T U R E O F H R 04 hat's in a name? Shakespeare's enduring question from Romeo and Juliet still holds meaning more than 400 years after the play was written, as name bias continues to be a barrier for employees. In 2015, then-prime minister David Cameron addressed the issue, albeit less poetically, at the Conservative party conference. He said: "Do you know that in our country today, even if they have exactly the same qualifications, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get call-backs for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names?" Nearly five years later, the job market has certainly become more complicated thanks to the issues and uncertainties around Brexit, business and the future, and this can arguably contribute to uncon - scious bias being an increasing issue in the workplace. A study launched by the British Academy at the beginning of the Middle Eastern or North African ori- gin had to send 80 and 90 per cent more applications respectively. This isn't simply a question of political correctness, it's a mat- ter of law. The Equality Act says employers who discriminate on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and mater- nity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation are break- ing the law, and are opening them- selves up to potential prosecution. This is the real reason why there has been a widespread concerted effort from big organisations to put managers through training to counter unconscious bias. But this alone isn't going to change the culture and attitudes which led, in 2016, to the Confederation of British Industry recommending the removal of candidates' names from job applications so employers would only focus on the skills and experience of applicants. Many agencies representing can - didates will take the names off applications when putting them forward for jobs. Holly Olugosi is a talent and training partner the The One Group, a recruitment agency based in Cambridge, and previously ran their finance desk, putting forward prospective can- didates to clients in the finance world. She has seen first hand how name bias has held back qual- ified candidates from being called for interview. Do applicants with white-sounding names have an unfair advantage when looking for jobs? Research suggests they do Why we must tackle name bias head on W Iman Amrani Small and medium-sized enterprises are more likely to be reluctant to interview candidates with foreign names D I S C R I M I N A T I O N P OSITIVE RESP ONSES (CALLBACKS), BY APPLICANTS' REGION OF ORIGIN katleho Seisa / Getty images year revealed that on average 24 per cent of applicants of white British origin received a positive response from employers. Only 15 per cent of minority ethnic appli- cants, who applied with identical CVs and covering letters, received positive responses. Concerns about English lan- g uage f luency or education levels can't be raised in these cases as a ll applicants stated clearly in their CVs that they were either British born or had lived in the coun- tr y since the age of si x and had a British education. Minority ethnic applicants and white applicants with non-Eng- lish names have to send on aver- age 60 per cent more applications to get a positive response from an employer than a white person of British origin. People of Pakistani origin had to make 70 per cent more applications, while candidates of Nigerian and Nuffield College 2019 20% 19% 16% 14% 13% 12% 12% Western Europe and United States India, China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam Eastern Europe and Russia Pakistan and Bangladesh Middle East and North Africa Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda South America and Caribbean

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