Recruiting the best: the hiring tools you need to tip the gender balance

Connect is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and this year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter which is working towards building a gender-balanced workforce, with equal opportunity for all. The movement advocates that balance is not simply a women’s issue, it’s a business issue and that it is an essential component for economies and communities to thrive and develop.

As secretariat to the Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Connect is helping to campaign to make the world of work more gender-balanced, and we are proud to celebrate #BalanceforBetter today.  

The Women and Work APPG launched a toolkit for government and employers: How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century. This followed a year-long inquiry which sought evidence and cast studies from employers.

Over the course of 2018, the APPG, chaired by Jess Phillips MP and Gillian Keegan MP examined the recruitment process from start to finish, identified everyday barriers that women face in the workplace and found practical solutions, many of which were found to cost little or nothing. Simple changes such as blind applications (removing the candidate’s personal information such as name, age, address or context blinding applications) or removing university and school information can help employers to counter unconscious bias and help recruiter to judge candidates entirely on their skills and experience. Another simple, change is committing to a set of pre-defined and structured questions and a strict time limit during an interview to ensure that all candidates are treated the same. We also heard evidence that job adverts which do not specify the salary band or application forms which ask for a candidate’s current salary, can exacerbate the gender pay gap when compared to adverts which fix the salary for all candidates.

Connect is now putting these recommendations into practice for its own recruitment processes, including trialling name and context blind applications. We will monitor how this affects the selection of candidates chosen for interview and regularly review its recruitment process.

In addition to tips for employers, the toolkit also includes policy recommendations for government to support employers in reforming their recruitment processes. The APPG welcomes mandatory gender pay gap reporting for organisations with more than 250 employees and wants to see this data broken down by age, ethnicity and disability to reveal and tackle any barriers to creating a truly diverse workforce. The APPG is also calling on the government to make gender pay gap reporting mandatory for smaller companies in the future as only half of the UK’s workforce is covered by the present reporting requirements.

A full list of the APPG’s hints, tips and recommendations can be found in our toolkit.

Florence Woodrow by:
Florence Woodrow