Education & Family

Firm 'hides' university when recruits apply

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Image caption The recruitment process wants to remove "unconscious bias" about universities

Professional services firm Deloitte has changed its selection process so recruiters do not know where candidates went to school or university.

It hopes to prevent "unconscious bias" and tap a more diverse "talent pool".

For next year's recruitment round for 1,500 graduates and school leavers, an algorithm will consider "contextual" information alongside academic results.

It will take into account disadvantages such as attending an under-performing school or coming from a deprived area.

As an example, Deloitte says an applicant getting three B grades at A-level could be seen as "exceptional" if the average for their school was three D grades.

There will be a "university-blind" approach to selection, so that the name of the university attended will not be known.

The aim is to find students with "potential" and to prevent the recruitment process producing an intake from a narrow range of universities and social backgrounds.

"Improving social mobility is one of the UK's biggest challenges," said David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK.

But Mr Sproul said there was also a "business imperative", as firms needed "to hire people who think and innovate differently, come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of perspectives".

The move by Deloitte is the latest in a wave of changes by graduate recruiters wanting to look beyond academic results.

Ernst and Young has scrapped a requirement for school leavers to have the equivalent of three B grades at A-level or graduates to have an upper second class degree.

The accountancy firm will remove all academic and education details from its application process.

PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year also announced that it would stop using A-levels grades as a threshold for selecting graduate recruits.

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