Racial & Gender Discrimination in Graduate Recruitment

In this day and age nobody expects to pay thousands of pounds to set themselves apart with a degree that reflects their intelligence, commitment and ambition, only to be knocked back because of their race or gender. However, this it appears is still the case as unpublished statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency come to light.

Shocking Finding of Colour? or Co-incidence?

Shockingly, black graduates were found 30% less likely to be employed after graduation with a staggering 60% unable to find work after six months in comparison to their white counterparts. You’d think then, that those who were more successful would have their foot in the door and it wouldn’t even cross your mind that they might be earning up to 9% less than white graduates after five years in the same industry (found by charity Elevation Networks and the Bow Group).

Gender Discrimination in Employment?

As for women, notoriously segregated from males as the 21% UK wage gap in 2009 showed, inequality is still clear. Researcher Dr. Steve McDonald from North Carolina State University recently explored the age old “not-what-you-know-but-who” mantra to find males 12% more likely to gain a job through informal routes. Women meanwhile were no more likely to do so than through a formal job search. This is particularly significant during a time when the benefits of work experience are being ingrained into new graduates, often encouraged as a key avenue for building social connections.

Mcdonald’s (forthcoming) paper, ‘What You Know or Who You Know? Occupation-specific work experience and job matching through social networks’, took into account 12,000 participants across the country to conclude that the majority of males who undertake specialised experience secure jobs almost immediately through social networks they have built. Females on the other hand, were suggested to have a ‘lack of useful connections’ which prevented the same progress. As a consequence, women may be less likely to achieve the same level of pay as their male counterparts if they have less access to some of the highest paid jobs, often recruited via in-house or informal networks.

So, some unsavoury food for thought, especially for students seeking graduate jobs this year. However, awareness of these issues can only be a good thing during a time where race or gender is often the last thing people are considering in part of their first impression on the job market.

Guestpost by Dan Hawes, co-founder of Graduate Recruitment Bureau