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Deloitte seeks to end unconscious class bias with recruitment revamp

DELOITTE has radically revamped its selection process in a bid to stop recruiters from knowing where candidates went to school or university.

It is hoped unconscious bias will be eliminated – or at least dramatically reduced – as a direct result of the new regime. A special algorithm will also be brought into play to consider contextual information as well as academic results.

It follows a recent report from the government’s social mobility watchdog that found working class people are being “systematically” excluded from the best jobs at the UK’s top accounting firms.

Alan Milburn, chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission accused firms of imposing a “poshness test” effectively excluding applicants with working class backgrounds.

The new methodology will be brought into play in next year’s recruitment process of around 1,500 school leavers and graduates and school leavers.

An extra 100 jobs for school and college-leavers will be made available through its redesigned BrightStart Business Apprenticeship Scheme – which offers ambitious school and college-leavers an alternative entry route into the firm.

Deloitte is also set to partner with 100 schools across the UK to ensure a socially diverse range of candidates apply to join the programme and up the number of places available on its ASPIRE scheme, which this year provided work experience to 140 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, to 200 students each year from 2016.

David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: “Improving social mobility is one of the UK’s biggest challenges. For us, there is also a clear business imperative to get this right. In order to provide the best possible service and make an impact with our clients, we need to hire people who think and innovate differently, come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of perspectives and experience into the firm. We truly value this difference.

“Our response to this challenge reflects the value we place in the UK’s education system and the hard work that young people and teachers put in to achieve good exam results. Contextualisation allows us to recognise these important qualifications for young people, whilst also ensuring that for example, 3Bs at A Level in a school where the average student achieves 3Ds, is identified as exceptional performance.”

Fellow Big Four outfit EY recently ended its insistence on school leavers having the equivalent of three B grades in their A-levels or even graduates possessing a minimum of 2:1 degree.

PwC also ended its use of minimum A-levels grades for selecting graduates.

Sproul said the firm’s move were part of its bid to improve social mobility and employability throughout the profession and wider society.

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