Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the BBC to declare the ‘social class’ of its employees.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, he is expected to ask for information about the social class of anyone who creates BBC content to be published, according to ITV News – as he slams the media for being dominated by a “few tech giants and unaccountable billionaires.”
However, the Daily Mail reports that the Chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee, Damian Collins, is concerned about the proposals.
“It is always highly questionable when senior politicians who are being investigated by media start complaining about the way the media is being run,”
he said, adding that Corbyn is threatening to plunge the BBC into “class warfare”.
Research from Deloitte does suggest that those from lower-income backgrounds tend not to achieve as highly as those from wealthier ones. By 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE, and just seven per cent of children in the UK attend independent schools, but 30% of all A* grades at A level are achieved by these children.
This carries over into the world of work too - 32% of MPs, 51% of top Medics, 54% of FTSE-100 chief execs, 54% of top journalists and 70% of High Court judges went to an independent school, compared to seven per cent of the population.
Some firms are already considering social background when recruiting. Jenn Barnett, People Experience Lead, Grant Thornton UK LLP, explained that diversity of background is very important to their mission.
“Our ambition is to ensure that the diversity of our people reflects that of our clients and society as a whole, so that we can advise them effectively and find better solutions to their challenges,” she told HR Grapevine.
“Creating a diverse workforce is not only good for business; it’s an urgent and ongoing priority for the future of our firm. As such, a core part of our strategy is making sure opportunities are equally accessible to everyone, regardless of background.”
How can I offer opportunities to those from a disadvantaged background?
Look beyond experience – Obviously it’s great to see a candidate has an internship in a relevant field but bear in mind many people can only do work experience when they can afford to get by on the low (or non-existent) pay associated with them.
Qualifications aren’t everything – It often feels like every job requires a degree these days – are you sure your new recruit needs to have spent three years at university to take on the role?
Try new attraction methods – If you find you’re always getting candidates from the same background, it’s time to change your methods. Try having a presence at job fairs in different areas, or using different job boards, to reach a wider audience.