Working class applicants get interview perk

by Nicola Middlemiss25 Sep 2015
In professions that are dominated by privately-educated graduates, working-class applicants are often at a disadvantage – but one UK scheme is hoping to change the status quo.

Aimed at traditionally elite industries such as law and accountancy, the initiative aims to boost social mobility by giving extra credits to graduates from poorer backgrounds.

How it works

Companies that sign up to the scheme gain access to exam results of 3,500 schools and 2.5 million postcodes. Recruiters will also be able to view applicants’ GCSE and A-level grades in relation to the overall performance of their school.

“Often the most remarkable candidates don’t shine when firms are sifting through thousands of applications,” says Raphael Mokades, founder of Rare – the recruitment agency that designed the system.

“They might not have done relevant work experience, or climbed Mount Kilimanjaro but they might have got AAA from a school where the average grades are DDE, while working 20 hours a week,” he added.

As well as being able to compare applicants to their school peers, employers will also be able to see if candidates received free school meals or are the first in their family to go to university.

Stand-out candidates can then be “flagged-up” – meaning the normal requirements may be reduced.

Up to 20 companies have signed up so far, including prestigious law firm Baker & McKenzie.

“[The scheme] has the potential to revolutionise the way we recruit,” Sarah Gregory, the company’s inclusion and diversity partner, told the Daily Mail. “It will introduce a level playing field.”

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