How Recruiters Can Reduce Barriers to Work
The UK job market is facing challenges – slow hiring processes and a lack of skilled candidates are causing a build-up in waiting lists and workloads and reducing government income tax yield. To speed up recruitment and access wider talent pools, employers and government need to work together to reduce barriers for economically inactive people to enter work.
Almost 10 million people in the UK are of working age, but not seeking employment. There are several valid reasons for this, but to solve chronic labour shortages, it’s important that work is made more attractive, and barriers are removed.
The Better Hiring Institute is working with the UK government to make changes in hiring, aiming to make UK hiring the fastest globally, as well as improving levels of fairness and safety in recruitment. Their approach includes drawing up and actioning several 10-point plans that deal with implementing more digital hiring techniques to speed up processes, as well as clearing up overly bureaucratic procedures and regulations.
While this is taking place, what can employers do to remove barriers within their hiring practice and attract wider pools of candidates?
Write inclusive job descriptions
Being too prescriptive in a job description can deter potentially suitable candidates, as can being too vague, and omitting vital information. Additionally, many job descriptions are filled with jargon and technical language that can be intimidating for candidates who are not familiar with the industry.
Question exactly which qualifications are necessary, and which are indicators of a particular pathway. Candidates who have years of relevant experience, but no formal qualifications may be deterred from applying for a position that stipulates a specific educational pathway.
Additionally, candidates from overseas may have different but equivalent educational backgrounds, therefore including alternative and non-UK education and qualification criteria for necessary qualifications in job descriptions can help to make applicants from diverse backgrounds more comfortable in applying.
Most individuals would be more likely to apply for a job with a clear and informed job advertisement, which includes vital data such as salary information. This can be seen much more clearly with work-seekers who are neuroatypical and/or have disabilities. To combat dropouts and promote proactive recruitment, organisations should follow a standardised job advert process that makes clear the requirements and scope of a role.
Offer flexible roles
Recruiters can also reduce barriers to work by offering flexible work arrangements. This can include things like remote work options, flexible hours, and job sharing. By offering these types of arrangements, recruiters can attract candidates who may have caregiving responsibilities or other commitments that make it difficult to work a traditional 9-5 job.
Remote working options such as co-working spaces and home working allow employers to access talent in communities where the jobs may not necessarily be. By offering local talent the option to remain in their hometowns and cities, recruiters can remove location-based barriers.
According to a survey conducted by the Department for Education, around 670,000 parents would return to work if it was more accessible. Offering workers the opportunity to take advantage of “work anytime” models, and making the offer clear on job adverts, promotes flexible models of employment and appeals to a wider range of workers.
Remove unconscious bias
This can involve taking steps to ensure that all candidates are evaluated based on their qualifications and not on factors like gender, race, or age. Recruiters can also work with hiring managers to create a more diverse interview panel, which can help to ensure that different perspectives are considered when making hiring decisions.
Going further, employers can focus on a candidate’s potential, such as the skills critical for success in a role, instead of industry-specific experience and qualifications. Some neuroatypical groups struggle to navigate traditional recruitment methods and find it challenging to market their skills. Instead, hirers can ask applicants to demonstrate how they have met job requirements in different roles (potentially in different sectors) to allow organisations to tap into a richer pool of applicants.
Offer both digital and manual application options
Offering video interviews, online applications, and digital ID verification options means that those who are less mobile, live further afield, or are unable to travel due to financial issues can access your business as a candidate.
Additionally, those with access needs, including applicants with autism, can feel more comfortable applying for positions. The ONS recently reported that adults with autism face the highest level of unemployment out of all disability groups, with just 21.7% in employment. But with digital innovations such as virtual interviews, applicants can control their environment: lighting can be managed, background noise can be minimised, and fidget toys can be used off-camera to help applicants avoid sensory overload, give their genuine best at interview, and avoid any judgment from recruiters.
Conversely, recent estimates cite around 9 million people in the UK who are unable to use the internet and mobile devices without support, which is the equivalent of 16% of UK adults. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that there is always alternative access for work seekers who are digitally excluded. Digital exclusion can be caused by disability, financial hardship, and age, therefore it’s important to ensure that if your recruitment process makes use of specific apps, or requires access to mobile technology, non-digital routes are also available, to ensure full inclusivity.
How can Reed Screening help?
Whatever the make-up of your team, when hiring it’s important to ensure that risk is minimised through thorough screening. With over 60 years of experience in recruitment, and over 9 years of experience as a screening specialist, Reed Screening is ideally placed to advise your business on the best way to ensure that new hires are a boost to your company’s performance.