‘Poshness test’ proves discrimination and ignorance in legal and City firms

Today’s front cover of The Independent screams out that thousands of working class people are being denied jobs at top firms as they effectively need to pass a ‘poshness test’ to join elite employers. This was according to an official body set up by the Government to promote social mobility. This poshness test includes ‘the right type of accent’, whether a candidate has undertaken a (family funded) gap year travelling the world widening their horizons and, not surprisingly, whether they’veĀ  gone to an independent or grammar school.

There were snapshots of good practice with some large firms making a big commitment to recruit the brightest and best, regardless of background. However, this poshness test has so skewed recruitment practices ‘that many of the firms’ own senior executives would have not been hired under the criteria now used’.

So you could argue it’s getting worse.

There is no excuse for this – apart from laziness and ignorance and ignorance, in the face of the law, is no excuse.

It is not necessarily more expensive to develop good recruitment and assessment practices, but you need to know how. The first step is to develop objective criteria against which all applicants are measured. The firms might find that accent, travel and school background don’t count at all. Next comes training recruiting managers in effective interview techniques including making them aware of their unconscious biases. This training alone would have a huge impact on raising self awareness and possibly even issues about the benefits of diversity. The use of psychometric tools needs to be handled by trained experts, but they can add a further useful dimension.

Good assessment technique is not hard when you know how and that’s why we are here. Contact us to learn more.



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