More than 100 employers including British Airways, Lloyds Banking Group and Nestlé have pledged to improve social mobility in their job application processes, after a survey found only half of young people feel the graduate recruitment market is inclusive of young talent from all backgrounds.
Seventy-seven per cent of students believe the pandemic has worsened inequalities for young people entering the graduate jobs market, according to a survey of 2,000 university students by Bright Network, a platform that connects young people with graduate jobs and internships. Nine in 10 say they will consider the diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging activities of an organisation before applying for a job, and three in ten think organisations stand out if they take these issues seriously.
Bright Network has developed a 10-point social mobility action plan to help organisations make their recruitment practices more inclusive.
James Uffindell, founder and CEO of Bright Network, said that when introducing a social mobility policy, it’s important to understand what the candidate experience looks like from the outside. “Try and put yourself in the position of a graduate applying for your organisation. What challenges and obstacles might they face and how can you adapt your processes to get the best out of all the candidates applying?”
Many students from traditionally less privileged backgrounds face challenges that recruiters might not immediately consider. For example, four in ten (40%) of students of black heritage (a historically deprived demographic in the UK) said they were worried about tests they would need to complete during the job application process, compared to just 29% of the student population as a whole.
The initiative is a fantastic idea, and hopefully changes will be rolled out widely across all recruitment processes, not just the graduate jobs market. Numerous major employers have shown their support for the plan, including those from sectors including financial services, law, technology, transport and academia.