Employers must act to ensure graduate recruitment practices are inclusive for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds or risk losing vital talent, a report has warned.
Analysis of the latest evidence on social mobility in the workplace, by recruitment firm Debut, found individuals from socially diverse backgrounds were still being excluded despite positive efforts to tackle other areas of discrimination such as gender.
A survey of graduates, conducted as part of the report Working With Class: The State of Social Immobility in Graduate Recruitment, found more than a third (35 per cent) of those aged 18-25 said they were put off joining a business whose workforce was perceived to be made up of mainly middle and upper-class employees.
If extrapolated across the population, the report said this could mean up to 2.5 million young people were being dissuaded from joining organisations because of perceptions of class. It also found 66 per cent of the 165 graduates surveyed said they felt they had to change who they were, including their appearance, in order to “make a good impression” during an interview.
The majority (64 per cent) said they weren’t able to express themselves as individuals during the application process. Respondents also reported needing more opportunities to “show who we are and our potential” because filling in an application form or submitting a CV was insufficient.
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