Monday, 23 May 2016

New program aims to counter bias during recruitment

The Commission welcomes "Recruit Smarter", an 18-month pilot program which aims to counter any potential bias during recruitment and ensure candidates get the best opportunities regardless of their background.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott launched the program on Friday 20 May. It aims to counter any potential bias during recruitment and ensure employers get the best people for the job to improve their bottom line.

The 18-month pilot will assess which personal details – including name, gender, age and location – should be de-identified during the application process.

The pilot will be implemented in partnership with government agencies and the private sector – including the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Treasury and Finance, WorkSafe, Victoria Police, Australia Post, Westpac, the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads.

Hiring bias, including unconscious bias, can unfairly deny many Victorians from receiving the same opportunities as colleagues of a different gender, culture and age.

Over the next three months, a group of public and private sector representatives led by the Department of Premier and Cabinet will:

  • develop an implementation plan to scope and define the pilot
  • identify training requirements and other materials
  • develop an evaluation tool to assess the outcomes of the pilot

Research conducted by the Australian National University shows people from culturally diverse backgrounds with equivalent qualifications and experience often have to submit many more applications before they are offered an interview.

Diversity Council of Australia research also highlights the economic benefits of cultural diversity in the workplace, leading to greater productivity and innovation.

Higher executive and board diversity in companies produced equity returns that were 53% higher and gross earnings that were 14% higher than those with low levels of diversity.

The Government will allocate $200,000 to NGOs and the private sector to provide training to address hiring biases.