Former minister Alan Milburn announced the findings of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, a cross-party group looking at elitism in the professions. The panel concluded that top professions such as medicine and law are now beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest. Tara Craig asks the experts what employers can do to ensure the end of this closed-shop mentality.
The HR director
Graham White, Westminster City Council
"This long-awaited and anticipated report should come with no surprises for the HR fraternity. But while we should not be surprised with the findings, we need to be more involved with those challenges that fall squarely at the feet of the HR department.
"It's not good enough to let Alan Milburn point at the professions alone; we are the people who need to ensure that our organisations have effective and fair selection processes. We are the stewards of career succession planning, and there is no substitute for openness and transparency in selection and development processes, to ensure we get the best people for the job based on their potential and capability, and not just the colour of their school tie.
"I say this is a job well done. There is a chasm between where we are and where we need to be, and HR has a choice: do we wait for others to drag us screaming and shouting into a new order because we are afraid to have a view that might differ from our professionals? Or do we uphold the principles of our profession and demand the ability to make our organisations sustainable and drive social mobility to the very top of our agenda? I know what I want to do.
The business psychologist
Stuart Duff, partner, Pearn Kandola
"Organisations can help employees – particularly those involved in recruiting and promoting talent – to identify and understand their own potential for bias. Research makes clear that we are capable of managing our own bias, but only once we are aware of