British tech firms need to do more to embed anti-bias hiring practices, suggests a new report by global emerging talent and reskill provider, mthree.
The report found that less than half of businesses (46%) currently invest in anti-bias training for hiring managers, increasing the risk of potential employees being unfairly judged at the interview stage.
It also revealed that 54% do not use deliberately neutral job descriptions, despite studies showing that, if not worded carefully, job descriptions can be inadvertently offputting to certain demographics.
Even fewer businesses (37%) currently anonymise CVs by removing all potentially identifying information such as name, age, and educational history. Without removing this information, recruiters or hiring managers are more likely to make subconscious judgements about an applicant.
Less than a third (31%) said that they request diverse shortlists from recruiters, and shockingly, nearly 1 in 10 (9%) of those surveyed do not currently have any anti-bias hiring practices in place at all.
Of those that do, the vast majority (88%) have noticed an improvement to some extent. Nearly half (49%) said there has been a significant improvement, while 39% have noticed an improvement but still have more work to do.
Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree, commented: “It’s really disappointing to see that so many businesses are still not using some of the most tried and tested anti-bias hiring practices. Lots of businesses are struggling with a lack of diversity, particularly on their tech teams, and implementing even just one of these tactics could make a real difference. To see the biggest difference, businesses should look to tackle bias at all stages of the recruitment process.
“If chosen carefully, recruitment consultancies and other talent partners can be an invaluable tool in the quest for diversity, as they should have their own comprehensive strategies in place to ensure inclusivity. When it comes to job adverts, proofing software is available which can effectively identify words or phrases that may discourage applicants from certain groups.
“Anonymising CVs means that recruiters and hiring managers have no choice but to judge a candidate only on their qualifications and experience, which should ensure that those best-qualified for the role are invited to interview rather than those that fit a particular profile.
“And finally, businesses must ensure that those responsible for recruitment are able to recognise their own unconscious biases, and given the tools to approach the process as objectively as possible, to ensure candidates do not face prejudice at the interview stage.”