Startup success is only possible when entrepreneurs prioritise diversity. And now, a new report from Debut says 2.5 million young people wouldn’t apply to a workplace employing predominantly middle to upper class workers
The job of an employer requires them to be completely unbiased and they must focus on skills rather than background, sex, race or age when recruiting. Indeed, it’s a universally known fact that diversity is essential in a business for it to scale. However, the truth is more millennials feel that’s not what actually happens.
In fact, 35% of 18 to 25-year-old professionals were put off to apply for a job in a business if it largely employed middle and upper-class people, according to new research from graduate recruitment platform Debut. Having polled 200 young workers for this survey as well as holding qualitative in-depth interviews, Debut also found that 61% think businesses aren’t doing enough to hire people from diverse backgrounds. The report also revealed that 66% felt forced to change who they were, including altering their appearance, to make a better impression in a job interview.
These figures were backed by a report by the Social Mobility Commission which said that those from better financial backgrounds are 80% more likely to be hired than those from working class. This lack of social mobility and workplace discrimination is costing businesses and the UK economy £270bn annually.
Commenting on this issue, James Bennett, CEO of Debut, said: “Our research reveals the majority of UK businesses are guilty of professional exclusion and as such are missing out on a huge pool of tremendously talented young people from diverse backgrounds. This is not only stunting business’ own growth but also severely affecting the wider economy. It is imperative that businesses must do more than just pay lip service to diversity and inclusion and start taking real action to ensure they are in-step with modern social trends and viewpoints.”
He added: “Today’s graduates don’t just demand equality – they expect it. And as graduates become increasingly more aware – and more vocal – about such issues, the talent pool will dry up for companies that aren’t putting enough of an emphasis on this.”
Clearly, the class gap in employment must be addressed and recruiters must look beyond physical and financial statuses when sourcing talent. After all, it’s in their best interest to do so.