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Government backs 'name-blind CVs' to end discrimination

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Leading companies and universities are being asked to remove names from application forms in an effort to stop “unconscious bias” against potential recruits.

Women, refugees, and people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are among those the Government is hoping to help with the move.

Prime Minister David Cameron said a number of high profile organisations, including the Civil Service and the NHS, have pledged to keep job applications anonymous in a bid to improve fairness in the job market.

Ucas, the UK’s university admissions service, will carry out “name-blind” applications from 2017. The same will apply for graduate, apprentice-level and some other applications for organisations including the BBC, local government, KPMG, HSBC, Deloitte and Virgin Money.

The move was announced following a roundtable discussion at 10 Downing Street. “I said in my conference speech that I want us to end discrimination and finish the fight for real equality in our country today,” Mr Cameron said.

“Today we are delivering on that commitment and extending opportunity to all. If you’ve got the grades, the skills and the determination, this government will ensure that you can succeed.”

He added that name-blind CVs would prevent people from “falling at the first hurdle”, adding: “How do we make sure they can shoot to the very top? There’s lots of stuff that needs to be done there; mentoring, targets, proper measurement, setting a high ambition, making sure people can network [and] having good role models…We all need to take up these suggestions.”

In 2012, Jorden Berkeley, a black university graduate from London, said a careers adviser had told her to use her middle name – Elizabeth – on her CV. Some of her friends had been urged to “whiten” theirs “by dropping ethnic names or activities that could be associated with blackness”.

The Financial Times recently revealed the plights of many skilled refugees fleeing conflicts who have been unable to find work at the level they are qualified for. Often this is because employers don’t recognise overseas qualifications and experience; sometimes it’s down to a lack of understanding of the recruitment process from those seeking work.

Meanwhile, research from CMI and XpertHR found that, on average, women earn 22 per cent less than their male counterparts, climbing to a gap of 38 per cent for women over the age of 60.

Furthermore, the pay gap also increased with seniority, with the difference in pay reaching £14,943 for senior or director-level staff.