The civil service is to introduce "name-blind" recruitment for all roles below senior level, as part of a wider push by ministers to combat discrimination.
During his Conservative party conference speech, prime minister David Cameron pointed to research suggesting that job applicants with "white-sounding names" were "nearly twice as likely to get call backs for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names" even if they had the same qualifications.
In a bid to address the problem, Cameron has invited civil service chief executive John Manzoni – as well as representatives from the BBC, NHS and private sector – to sign a pledge promising to ensure their organisations recruit on a "name blind" basis when hiring graduates. The practice will not extend to Senior Civil Service roles, however.
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The agreement – signed at a Downing Street roundtable on Monday – means that the names of graduate applicants to the civil service, BBC, NHS, local government, HSBC, Deloitte, Virgin Money and KPMG will not be visible to employers. The practice has already been adopted by Teach First in its recruitment of new teachers.
Manzoni said: "I’m delighted to expand the civil service’s use of name-blind applications – not just for all graduate and apprenticeship level roles, but for many other external applications too.
"It’s vital that the civil service takes a lead on this, and I’m confident that this important step will help us build an organisation that is even more talented, diverse and effective than it is today."