Recruiters favour white candidates

Updated: 
Employment recruiters are offering preferential treatment to white job candidates over black and asian job seekers, according to a report.

The report, commissioned by the business group Race for Opportunity (RfO), said that of those surveyed, 29% of ethnic minority applicants were offered a job against 44% of white candidates who were successfully employed.

However industry body the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) questioned the results. It said the study assessed over 2,000 job applicants in the past year at a time when employers were looking for experience over age. Many of the black and asian candidates were young and looking for a first job.

Tom Hadley, the REC's Director of Policy and Professional Services said "The role of recruitment agencies is to match candidates to roles on the basis of their skills, experience and suitability for the job, with the employer making the final decision on who to pre-select for interview and who to offer the job to. There is absolutely no reason for recruiters to do anything other than put together the best possible short-list.

"Of course, there is always more that can be done to champion and improve diversity. This is something the REC and the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) will continue to drive through research, qualifications and training."

The report recommends recruiters train staff to address 'unconscious bias' when reviewing an ethnic and migrant workers' skills and training. Questions focused on culture and religion should be avoided and migrant workers may need help filling in applications if English is not their first language.

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