Ethnicity is the biggest limiting factor for jobseekers according to new research

  • Over half (52%) of professionals believe their chances of being selected for a job have been lowered because of an identifying factor

  • 91% of professionals with black heritage and 81% with Asian heritage believe their changes of selection for a job have been reduced because of their ethnicity

  • Women more likely to feel chances of selection are lowered, as are those from the LGBTQ+ community and individuals aged 55 and over

Over half (52%) of professionals believe their chances of being selected for a job have been lowered because of an identifying factor, according to over 5,200 respondents surveyed in the Hays Diversity & Inclusion 2019 report.

More than nine in ten (91%) professionals with black heritage and 81% with Asian heritage believe their chances of selection for a job have been reduced because of their ethnicity. This is compared to only 18% of those with white British heritage.

Age is another significant perceived inequality, as 83% of those aged 55 and over feel their selection chances have been restricted. Women are more than twice as likely to feel their chances of selection are lowered due to their gender identity than men (42% and 18% respectively), as are members of the LGBTQ+ community (41%) and people with disabilities (37%).

Blind recruitment and diverse interview panels can level the playing field

Knowing that an employer uses blind recruitment in their selection process gives two thirds (66%) of professionals more confidence that they will be fairly considered. Despite this, only 23% say their organisation uses blind recruitment techniques.

81% of people with Asian heritage and 75% of those with black heritage feel more confident in an organisation which implements blind recruitment, as do 72% of females surveyed.

Alongside blind recruitment, 78% of respondents believe introducing diverse interview panels will have a significant impact on the selection and hiring of diverse talent. Currently, only 43% of organisations implement this.

A technique used more widely (66% of organisations) is a structured interview process, which almost four in five (79%) believe would have a positive impact on diverse hiring. Many organisations, however, fall down when it comes to adjusting tests and assessments to make them fair for disabilities. 82% think this would have a positive impact, but less than half (45%) have adapted their assessments accordingly.

Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Hays, said: “It’s clear from our research that despite greater awareness of the impact of unconscious bias, most professionals still feel their chances of being chosen for a job have been hindered based on identifying factors, particularly when it comes to ethnicity.

Our findings indicate that in order to address this, employers need to look at the beginning of their recruitment process and consider implementing blind recruitment techniques as well as diversifying their interview panels.”




For more information contact:

Helen Flannery, PR Manager, Hays

T: +44 (0) 203 0400 282

M: +44 (0)75 5579 70401

E: helen.flannery@hays.com


About the research

The research was carried out in Spring 2019 and is based on a survey of over 5,200 employers and employees from across the UK, from a range of key demographics, industries and sectors.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2019 the Group employed 11,500 staff operating from 265 offices in 33 markets across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

– the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;

– the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;

– 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);

– the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;

– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA


Contact us

Find your nearest Hays office

Hays has offices across the whole of the UK. Contact us to discuss your employment needs.


Find out more

Search for jobs
Find your next career move.

Register a job
Search through hundreds of candidates to find your next employee or employees.

Employer Services
Explore our key services which will help provide you with an effective talent strategy.

From whitepapers to reports, get the resources you need for all of your recruitment or job searching needs.

Join us at our events
We are dedicated to creating opportunities for professionals and industry leaders to share their insights.

View our blogs
Take a look at our blog section for further insight and advice.