UK says big firms, civil service, will adopt anti-discrimination 'name blind' hiring policies

LONDON – Britain’s civil service and several major companies have agreed to recruit university graduates and apprentices without knowing the applicants’ names in an effort to eliminate bias against people from ethnic minorities.

Prime Minister David Cameron said last month it was “disgraceful” that people with “white-sounding” names were twice as likely as others to be shortlisted for jobs.

Cameron’s office said Monday that firms including bank HSBC, accountants Deloitte, broadcaster the BBC and the state-run National Health Service had signed up to the “name blind” recruitment plan, in which employers do not know applicants’ names when they are selecting them for interviews.

Cameron said he was determined to “end discrimination and finish the fight for real equality in our country.”

The Conservative British leader also has vowed to close the gender pay gap that sees women earn 19 per cent less than men on average, according to government statistics. The government says companies and the civil service will have to publish details of salaries and bonuses paid to male and female employees.

Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan said it would “concentrate minds when companies see the gender pay in their own company of their employees, including bonuses.”