How Blind CVs Could Improve Your Job Prospects

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Be judged by your skills, not your gender.

Work equipment artfully laid out on a desk
There are a few accepted dos and don’ts when it comes to pulling your CV together: as much as you’re tempted, don’t use Curlz as a font, try not to make it novel length and keep the embellishments to a minimum. But should your name and age and education be blanked out? For the sake of bias?

Global accountancy firm Ernst and Young began accepting only ‘blind’ applications for their graduate program last year and as a result, the company now boasts a 10% increase in employee diversity. The firm not only decided to scrap the collection of personal details, such as name and gender, but it also did away with educational and academic details, in a bid to gain a more varied workplace. Now, one year on, the results speak for themselves: there was a 7 per cent increase in the number of recruits who were the first of their family to attend university, as well as a 10-point increase in the amount of recruits who did not attend a private school.

A mainstream move towards more diverse workplaces has been credited for a range of benefits: a more diverse executive board, for example, is proven to increase earnings and equity, according to this McKinsey study. Additionally, this study shows that a varied group of thinkers can actually outrank high-performance problem solvers.

One year on, there was a 7 per cent increase in the number of recruits who were the first of their family to attend university, as well as a 10-point increase in the amount of recruits who did not attend a private school.

Ernst and Young’s move was part of a wider wave of policies working towards discouraging unconscious bias when hiring: also last year, the Victoria Government initiated a pilot program based on the concept of anonymous hiring – with details like name, age and gender omitted from applications – dubbed Recruit Smarter, which was taken up by 29 public and private sector organisations, including Australia Post, Victoria Police, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Westpac.

“By removing unconscious bias, we really hope to create an equal opportunity for all Victorians,” Victoria’s Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott, explained at the time. “Ultimately, this is about fair employment practice and enabling Victorians to apply for jobs without fear their personal information will affect their initial application.”

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