Are anonymous CVs the answer to discrimination?

Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2013 by

The concept of blank-name application forms, to reduce discrimination in recruitment processes, is back on the agenda after a damning government report on the employment prospects of ethnic minorities. A study from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community in December found that women of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage who ‘anglicised’ their names saw a 50 per cent drop in the number of applications required before getting an interview. The Group’s recommendations include encouraging businesses to use blank-name, anonymised applications forms that screen out a candidate’s name, background and schooling from recruiters, to eliminate unconscious biases. But this isn’t the first time the idea has been mooted – and it’s proved highly divisive in the past. In 2009, Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone tried to add a clause to the Equality Bill that would have made nameless CVs mandatory, citing the use of candidate numbers rather than names in school exams. The idea was described as “unworkable” by a number of HR directors and was subsequently dropped.