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Erasing Bias From Workplace Recruiting

20 February 2017

Victorians will have a fairer playing field when applying for jobs under an anti-discrimination pilot program launched by the Andrews Labor Government.

In an Australian-first, Recruit Smarter will de-identify personal details – such as names, genders, ages, and locations – to reduce potential bias during the application process.

Research shows people from culturally diverse backgrounds with equivalent qualifications and experience often have to submit more applications before they are offered an interview.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott today kicked off the 18-month pilot, which will also include:

  • Targeting language with traditionally masculine or feminine connotations in job advertisements
  • Training to help human resources and staff involved in recruitment to recognise and prevent unconscious bias in the process
  • Use of programmed bias mitigation prompts throughout the selection process reminding selection committees of common biases, hotspots and other potential bias hazards in job interviews

The Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Treasury and Finance, WorkSafe, VicHealth, the Transport Accident Commission, Westpac, Ai Group and accounting firm PwC are some of the partners to have signed up for the trial.

An implementation committee has spent the past nine months finessing the structure of the pilot, which aims to ensure employers get the best people for the job to improve their bottom line.

Diversity Council of Australia research shows that greater executive and board diversity in companies produced equity returns that were 53 per cent higher and gross earnings that were 14 per cent higher compared with those with low levels of diversity.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott

“I believe in an Australia where someone’s age, background, postcode, gender or wealth doesn’t determine your chance for a fair go.”

“This is the first multi-sector cooperative initiative of its kind in Australia. It’s a ground-breaking and important step towards equality of opportunity in our workforce.”

Quotes attributable to VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter

“VicHealth is delighted to align the Victorian Government’s vision and leadership to amplify diversity and inclusion in our state.”

“We are a proud partner in Recruit Smarter through some emerging work in gender equality developed under our Leading Thinkers Initiative.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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