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The Nameless CV... a breakthrough in employment diversity?

David Cameron this week has backed the campaign for nameless CVs within the civil service...branding the idea that recruiter's reject CVs purely on a name as 'disgraceful'.

Some of the private sector's key players also jumping on the name-blind recruitment bandwagon include; KPMG, Deloitte, Virgin Money and HSBC.

I have to wonder, is this really the answer to our discrimination headaches?

Before I proceed, I have to say that I absolutely believe that if people have the right skills, experience and attitude then they should be given the chance to succeed, regardless of race, sex or age. However the cynic in me also knows that whilst this initiative is certainly a step in the right direction, it isn't going to solve the problem.

This campaign seems to be purely focused around race and the fact that people have had to change their names to 'British' sounding names in order to get through a recruitment process. This works both ways.

Names also reveal whether a candidate is male or female and can give recruiters a rough idea of their age. I also know of British nationals who do not have British names and similarly, foreign nationals who do have British names.

Back in my days of high street recruitment, I frequently had clients ask me to send them candidates of non-British nationalities, because they were 'grafters'.

Even now, recruiting for the HR market, I have clients ask me to send candidate's within a certain age range and even whether they would prefer a male or female. So let us not forget that discrimination does not stop with race. The nameless CV could be beneficial for a number of individuals.

Ultimately, in order for the nameless CV to work, what does need to change is people's perceptions and behaviours when it comes to age,sex and race in the workplace.

With modern technology, LinkedIn and other networking sites, recruiters can easily take a nameless CV and in 5 minutes or so of digging around, deduce who the candidate is likely to be.

Even if the 'nameless' candidate gets past the CV stage, the employer is still going to have to interview them. If the employer has any kind of prejudice, then this will come out in the interview process and the candidate will not be progressed. Therefore are we not just delaying the inevitable?

I suppose it is a never ending cycle... is there truly a way we will ever be able to have a non-discriminatory recruitment process?

I would be keen to hear your thoughts on the new initiative and what (if anything) your business is doing to support this campaign?

Kate Wass
Consultant
Harvey Nash HR