Graduate schemes revealed as tailored to specific background by Tempo research.

Diversity undermined.

Research from recruitment platform Tempo suggests graduate schemes directly undermine diversity, with a third (30 per cent) of recent graduates feeling the process is unfairly tailored to those with a specific background. In fact, when asked for the main improvement employers could make to the application process, greater accessibility for those with different qualifications and backgrounds came out top (39 per cent), ahead of communication (38 per cent), personalisation (36 per cent) and clarity (33 per cent).

The poll of more than 1,000 recent UK graduates found that almost two-thirds (61 per cent) believe that graduate schemes are tied to traditional business and perpetuate outdated notions of the workplace. Indeed, 20 per cent of all respondents said their main issue with applications was that they are ‘old-fashioned’. Whilst the world of work has constantly evolved, graduate schemes are intrinsically linked with archaic companies, who are failing to move with the times.

The research also suggests that traditional graduate schemes unfairly benefit men over women. While educational results have been consistently equal across genders, 44 per cent of men complete graduate schemes compared to 27 per cent of women. This points to a clear perception gap between males and females, causing fewer women to apply to traditional graduate schemes. Bias is not only an issue during applications but is evident within the schemes themselves. Of those to complete graduate schemes, 56 per cent of men were positive about them, compared to only 46 per cent of women. Men are also more likely to be satisfied with pay (20 per cent) when compared to their female counterparts (12 per cent).

“Hardly a day passes without a major business releasing a new policy on culture and inclusion. Yet many of these companies only attend Oxbridge graduate days, and recruit through traditional schemes and summer internships.” said Ben Chatfield, CEO and Co-Founder at Tempo. “These methods can only take business diversity so far. At their worst, they perpetuate the UK class divide, blocking those without connections, experience or the financial backing to cover the cost of living during the application process. Today’s research proves, without question, that if businesses want to be diverse, they must completely rethink entry-level recruitment.

“Diversity is frequently named as a top concern for business leaders,” added Chatfield, “yet our research suggests that very few proactively review their entry-level hiring process. Today’s results should stand as proof that solely using traditional systems fails to attract diverse employees. It is no longer a point of debate – if you care about diversity, you must develop a system that caters to the expectations of those entering the workforce.”


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