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Meena Chander

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How blind recruitment can help close the LGBTQ+ pay gap


LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning) employees are facing a pay gap much wider than that faced by women. Is blind recruitment one avenue through which we can help close the pay gaps for all?

This week, results from a survey undertaken by LinkedIn and Black Pride were released, revealing a 16% pay gap for LGBTQ+ (or LGBT+) people, which is almost double the UK pay gap between men and women (9.6%). These results are hard to swallow, especially after Pride month and the Pride corporate promotion. 

Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ+ employees in the UK believe that their workplace is exclusive and has a lack of focus around diversity. They feel they are unable to thrive and prosper in their roles due to lack of support and, in some cases, discrimination.

Many also believe that they are within the company simply to tick a box or are placed in a role not suited to their skills and unable to move. 

Based on these findings, it’s clear that employers have a lot of work to do to ensure not only that their LGBTQ+ employees are made to feel valued and respected, but also that they are not putting any barriers up to prevent LGBTQ+ talent from entering their workforce.

To address the latter, blind recruitment is a robust approach to ensuring all candidates, no matter who they are or where they come from, are treated fairly during the hiring process.

What is blind recruitment?

A 2017 UK study found that just 32% of HR managers felt confident about making hiring decisions without prejudice. Almost half (48%) admitted that their candidate choice is usually biased and 20% said they couldn’t be sure if their decisions were biased or not. 

Such findings suggest that biased decisions in recruitment are a reason why pay gaps exist. Bias, whether unconscious or conscious, greatly affects the pay gap, as well as important factors such as inclusion and diversity within the workplace. 

Blind recruitment is the act of removing key personal details including name, age, gender, address and images from CVs and job applications to create an unbiased recruitment process. Removing such details allows HR personnel, managers and business owners to make hiring decisions based on skills and experience alone, instead of who they feel would fit their company ethos. Using unbiased data allows companies to choose the best potential candidate for the job without risk of discrimination.

How can blind recruitment close the LGBTQ+ pay gap

Biased recruitment often means that the person who is the most obvious ‘fit’ is recruited over the best person for the job. It also means that the person who is more suited but doesn’t quite ‘fit’ either loses out or, if they are hired, is given a lower salary for the same role. 

Businesses usually end up with a higher rate of employees who seem fit for the job, but who may not necessarily be great for it. This causes both an unbalanced and undiverse work experience, and can also prevent a company from progressing through the innovative thinking that a diverse team can bring. 

Blind recruitment can play a key role in closing the LGBTQ+ gender pay gap, and improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By selecting individuals based on their skill sets, experience and qualifications. those responsible for hiring within their business or organisation are truly choosing the person best suited to the role.

Of course, that person will still need to sit through interview stage, but it is less likely that they will be turned down for the job if they have the correct skills and experience the employer is seeking. And with no predetermined ideas in place, the success rates are increased. This also means that this person will likely be offered the right amount of money. Or at least be in a better place to negotiate as they are there based on skill and experience alone. 

Blind recruitment can be a great hiring approach for businesses looking to close the LGBTQ+ pay gap and, more widely, address diversity among their workforce. Hiring someone for a job based on unbiased information means that LGBTQ+ individuals will begin to earn the same as their straight counterparts. 

Why can blind recruitment be so effective for business?

Blind recruitment can allow employers and HR directors to attract talent from all parts of society.

While we have seen a lot of younger business owners being more diverse and inclusive in their hiring efforts, HR and recruitment professionals and business owners more widely still have an important role to play in challenging and tackling antiquated practices and policies. 

Blind recruitment promotes and endorses open, transparent and honest hiring and can play a huge part in business growth and talent acquisition, as well as retention. It’s a forward-thinking process and has the potential to have a huge impact on businesses, both big and small, and in increasing diversity and inclusion as a whole. 

Blind recruitment should also be used for hiring members of the senior teams within a company, as creating a more diverse HR and management team will lead to more diversity among wider teams. 

There is no doubt that addressing pay gaps is a complex challenge, but by removing bias from the entire recruitment process, companies will see a major increase in diversification among their employees, which in turn produces a more productive and positive workforce. 

How can you make your workforce more diverse?

  1. Raise awareness of diverse recruitment processes in your business

  2. Ensure all internal and external communications and policies are inclusive 

  3. Use various recruiters to access a wide range of talent

  4. Consider use of language and pronouns in all job descriptions

  5. Make all salary rates clear 

  6. Create a diverse HR and recruitment team

  7. Run diverse marketing and PR campaigns

  8. Use blind recruitment


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