Major employers plan to introduce “blind” recruitment of graduates to combat discrimination against people with “ethnic-sounding names”.
HSBC and the BBC are among employers signing up to the new initiative, David Cameron announced.
The Prime Minister, who mentioned the issue of employment discrimination in his Conservative Party conference speech, is hosting a meeting at Downing Street to discuss the issue.
No. 10 said Deloitte, Virgin Money and KPMG would also begin selecting for interview for graduate and apprentice roles without knowing names.
The civil service – which already employs the practice for around half of jobs – will extend it to all but the highest tier of mandarins, meaning around 99 per cent of positions will be recruited using the system.
It will be made the default for all positions advertised through NHS Jobs and health service apprenticeships delivered through the National Careers Service.
The Local Government Association has committed to encouraging town halls to take it up – as well as applying it to its own recruitment.
The same process will be used for university application forms with Ucas, the central body for almost all university applications, making its applications ‘name-blind’ from 2017.
Mr Cameron, writing in the Guardian, said: “For all the legislation we have passed, discrimination still persists. It’s no longer signs on the door that say ‘no blacks allowed’; it’s quieter and more subtle discrimination.
“It’s the disappointment of not getting your first choice university place; it’s being passed over for promotion and not knowing why; it’s organisations that recruit in their own image and aren’t confident enough to do something different, like employing a disabled person or a young black man or woman. You won’t change these attitudes simply through more laws, but in smarter, more innovative ways.
“Britain has come so far, but the long march to an equal society isn’t over. Today’s announcement is not the only thing we can do, but it’s a milestone. And it means that a young black woman knows she’ll get a fair shot when she applies for the job of her dreams.”