Recruitment & Social Mobility

Is it time to ditch the 2:1?

Removing academic requirements from the Graduate recruitment process is something we are talking to our clients about more and more. It’s not a new subject of course, the likes of Nestle, EY and Grant Thornton being prominent in the press talking about how it’s helping them to recruit better quality candidates, yet many organisations are still reluctant to let go of that 2:1 benchmark, believing it to be the best indicator of top talent, whilst airing concerns about quality and high volumes of applications.

Good graduates

So is having a 2:1 and above the best indicator of a ‘good’ Graduate?

Well, the honest answer is that most companies simply don’t know because they are not allowing anyone who doesn’t meet that criteria to apply, and therefore it’s not being measured. More worryingly, having a minimum academic criteria in place, inadvertently disadvantages those candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds (as they are more likely to fall below expected attainment levels than their counterparts).

With those more forward-thinking organisations reporting that large percentages of their most recent hires, obtained below the 2:1 cut off, it will hopefully make it easier for companies to understand the benefits of implementing a fairer and more contextualised recruitment process, where decisions are made on an individual level.

Measuring social mobility

Social mobility is a hot-topic at the moment, so we’d recommend that you start measuring the demographic of your applicants through your applicant tracking system, giving you valuable insight into your candidate pool (and subsequently allowing you to measure how well they do in your business).



I can see the future

Recruitment Virtual Reality

On 1st March I attended the Changeboard Future Talent Conference, and there were some really inspirational speakers in attendance – Martine Wright, Lord Chris Holmes MBE and Sir Clive Woodward, amongst others. The main topic of conversation was of course ‘the future’ and speakers were telling their own stories and making suggestions about what we can expect.

Outside of the main arena, one thing that really caught my attention, was the virtual reality headsets on The Economist stand. They have teamed up with Project Mosul, a group dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage, and have re-created (virtually) Iraq’s Mosul museum which was destroyed by Islamic State.

Click here for article

It was pretty amazing to ‘walk’ through the museum created from crowd-sourced footage and images, being able to wander round the exhibits and hear commentary at the same time – it really brought it to life superbly, which got me thinking about how we can use it in recruitment.

Candidates ask us repeatedly what it’s ‘really like to work there’ and I can see this technology being used to create a ‘day-in-the-life’ like we’ve never seen before. I’m really excited at the prospect of candidates being able to ‘see’ the working environment first hand, to help inform their decision about whether this is the location / role for them. Exciting times!

Millennial generation demand fun at work

Is it okay to have fun at work?

According to the Millennial generation it is. In fact it’s what they expect!

For many generations before them, employment has meant loyalty, not complaining, long hours and fair reward for working hard – certainly not having fun! However, for the Millennial generation they are evaluating work-life through very different eyes to their predecessors. They are looking for work to be exciting as well as challenging, and there is a greater mentality of ‘life is short – enjoy it’ which applies to their work too.

Work/ life balance

So what can employers do about it? In short, they need to be flexible, and able to respond to the need for a more balanced lifestyle, allowing time for fun. For many organisations it’s undoubtedly a challenge to make work itself fun, but a degree of flexibility is needed because Millenials who find themselves in unenjoyable jobs, will retrain in other areas, leave and go somewhere it is fun.

Recruitment challenge

The challenge for recruiters is accepting that traditional screening processes against CV’s, education and experience need adapting. Just because someone is academically a good match for a role is not enough. We need to discover what values job-seekers have, as well as what they find fun to do, helping to ensure they are more closely matched to the organisation and a role that they will find enjoyable.


Female Talent Pipelines in Recruitment

More women needed

There is no doubt that we need to look at increasing female talent pipelines, particularly in male-dominated roles, and in industries where women are under-represented, with the CIPD recently publishing another article related to this. Click here to read

How to attract female applicants?

But HOW can organisations tackle this issue in practice? Well, from our point of view it’s about engagement, engagement and more engagement!

Get in to schools, colleges and universities, and start engaging with young females so that they understand what you do.

Many female applicants tell us that they haven’t considered a role or sector before, purely because they don’t know about the types of roles and the potential myriad of opportunities available to them. (see also our article on graduates career advice)

Tell stories either in person or via your website, with positive role models. It’s more than just using female-friendly images in your attraction material, but making a commitment to offer mentorship or be available to answer questions. We’ve recently come across Class Careers who offer a fantastic solution to school engagement –

Build your talent pipeline

Access and understanding are often the biggest barriers to overcome, so if you are able to offer experience opportunities or open events these can really help.

No organisation is going to increase its female talent pipeline by doing what they’ve always done – is it time for you to update your recruitment approach?