HR leaders admit to hiring people 'just like them'

HR leaders admit to hiring people 'just like them'

Worrying research has found that modern hiring practices are hindering diversity, as employers admit to hiring people ‘just like them’.

According to research commissioned by The Open University, three in ten (29%) senior managers admit they hire people just like them. The study found that employers place significant importance on educational attainment (86%), cultural fit (77%), tastes and leisure pursuits (65%), and even social background (61%) – raising concerns about diversity.

This emphasis on cultural fit having a ‘dark side’ echoes with the views of ex-Apple recruiter, Rachel Bitte, the now Chief People Officer at Jobvite. She believes that there’s an unexpected dark side of hiring for cultural fit, which creates homogeneity at a firm.

“I think companies really have to be careful,” says Bitte, who has over 20 years of HR experience working at Apple and Intuit, to Business Insider. “What do you mean by a ‘fit’ for your company?”

Whilst recruiters are tasked with finding candidates with the right mindset, their own definition of cultural fit can lead to a lack of diversity.

Another issue the study pointed out was the ‘degree premium’ with more than half (55%) of managers unwilling to take on employees without a degree and train them. This bias has left two-thirds (67%) of workers with only GCSEs or A-Levels stuck in low or semi-skilled employment.

Furthermore, this bias continues through employment, with three in ten (31%) employees with no higher education (HE) gaining no access to workplace training to improve their skills, in comparison to 21% of those with an HE qualification. A quarter (25%) reports that colleagues who received a better education are given better opportunities.

David Willett, Director at The Open University, comments on the report: “Conscious or not, employers’ reluctance to hire workers without a degree, in part driven by managerial bias for appointing workers who ‘fit the mould’, is damaging both individual prospects and business potential in the UK.

“An organisation of clones lacks the breadth of life experience and thinking required to drive creativity, innovation, and retain a diverse client base, which is essential if the UK is to compete on a global stage following Brexit.”

Willet also listed a number of tips for HR, to help them to embrace diversity within their search. They can be seen by clicking next… 

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