Don’t bother getting a good degree: Now PC brigade says bosses shouldn’t just hire best students as it ‘discriminates against average graduates’
Last updated at 1:00 PM on 28th February 2012
Companies hiring graduates with top degrees could be discriminating against students with average grades, according to a Government-commissioned review.
Jobs that require applicants to have a minimum qualification of a 2:1 degree may prevent firms meeting diversity targets, the report said.
Many sought-after positions – particularly in the corporate sector – require a certain standard of academic achievement and even attendance at a certain set of universities.
Future uncertainty: Firms may not meet diversity targets if they require applicants to have a minimum of a 2:1 degree (file picture)
But the review for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said the system was ‘flawed’.
Professor Tim Wilson, who carried out the review, said: ‘A filter that limits
recruitment to a particular set of universities, a “2-1 standard” and a defined UCAS entry threshold to the corporate sector are not uncommon requirements.
‘In the context of reducing the applications to manageable proportions this is understandable, but it has flaws.’
He said companies who filter on academic achievement need to carry out regular reviews of their screening processes, based on the types of graduates they have hired.
‘An algorithm that includes a profiling filter may reduce the selection task to manageable proportions and hence an acceptable cost, but it also has the potential to exclude graduates with skills profiles that are appropriate to company needs.
‘Graduate recruiters using filtering mechanisms should undertake a systematic and frequent review of screening algorithms in the light of the qualities of the graduates that the company has recruited and the diversity objectives of the company.’
You’re hired: Business secretary Vince Cable, left, said the Government will now ‘carefully consider’ the recommendations by Professor Tim Wilson, right
He added that the recruitment cycle is normally undertaken before graduation, so the degree classification is projected, not actual.
This may minimise the cost risk, he added, but not necessarily manage the risk of diversity imbalance.
The review said that many employers were concerned about not attracting the right mix of graduates and that companies were often not doing enough to communicate with prospective candidates.
Sir Tim made 54 recommendations, including a number on how to encourage more so-called ‘sandwich’ degrees which involve some form of work, and ways of increasing internships.
He said that where internships are unpaid, universities should use funds they receive from the office for Fair Access, which encourages students from poorer backgrounds to go to university, to support eligible youngsters rather than condone a policy that could ‘inhibit social mobility’.
He suggested universities should only charge students on a work placement year £1,000 rather than the permitted maximum of £4,500, and interest charges on student loans should be suspended.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said the world’s best universities were building deeper links with business, adding that the Government will now ‘carefully consider’ the report’s recommendations.
The conclusions are likely to increase fears the professions are dumbing down in order to widen access and concerns this could damage Britain’s already unstable economy.
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