Discrimination could be avoided with anonymous CVs, claims Lib Dem MP

Job applications should be anonymous so employers don’t “subliminally” discriminate based on gender, race or age, a Liberal Democrat MP said.

Proposing an amendment to the Equality Bill in Parliament this week, Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem youth and equalities spokeswoman, said job candidates should not use their names on applications, ensuring that employers could not glean extra information ahead of an interview.

Speaking afterwards to Personnel Today, Featherstone said some employers have an unconscious bias that can work against applicants.

“A lot of applications get discarded when people send in a written application for work, and not all are for the right reasons, so this is a way forward to avoid employers subliminally writing off the CV,” she said.

“Just as students who sit exams are asked to put a number down instead of their name to ensure the marking is unbiased, so job applicants should put down their national insurance number or phone number or address instead of their name to ensure those who get to interview stage can let their personality shine through.”

Featherstone added that age discrimination was just as likely as race or gender discrimination based on a person’s name.

“Names belong to an era, so a Gladys or Doris that applies for a job is much more likely to be older than an applicant with one of today’s trendy names,” she said.

Featherstone said she would develop the clause to the Equality Bill as it progressed through Parliament. The Bill passed a second reading in Parliament earlier this week.

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