BBC’s plan to make itself less posh: Ban degrees from CVs
THE BBC is deleting any mention of a university education from the CVs of people who apply for jobs.
The bizarre initiative means students who spend three years studying at a cost of £9,000 a year will no longer be able to use their degree to impress bosses at the Corporation.
The plan is designed to stop the BBC being too ‘posh’ – as damning figures confirmed its staff are twice as likely as the average Briton to come from privileged backgrounds.
Some 61 per cent of staff have parents who were senior managers or professionals – more than twice the national average. And 17 per cent of BBC staff and 24 per cent of managers went to private schools, compared to 7 per cent in the wider population.
BBC boss James Purnell – a privately educated Oxford graduate – said yesterday the Corporation was removing any trace of a person’s degree from CVs, in order to guard against bias.
He said: ‘We are now doing anonymised recruitment so you take off the name and you take off the degree. It’s something lots of organisations are doing – across accountancy, Media and Technology Editor across law – and the theory, which I think is right, is that you can get that evidence in other ways.’
Mr Purnell said candidates will be assessed in other ways – for example, with questionnaires, ‘competency’ tests and interviews.
But while lawyers and accountants require certain professional qualifications to practise, there is no basic educational requirement to work in the television sector – meaning many applicants rely on their studies to set them apart.
People applying for jobs at the BBC are invited to submit their CV as they normally would, but the Corporation then automatically deletes their names, entire educational background and address.
Degrees and educational background will not be disclosed if an applicant gets to the interview or assessment stage, but an interviewer will have the discretion to discuss it if they deem it to be relevant. The scheme was launched last year for between 250 and 300 jobs, covering tens of thousands of applications. It has now been rolled out to the rest of the BBC, although recruiters for more senior jobs do not have to use it if they don’t want to.
Mr Purnell – a former Labour Cabinet secretary who now earns £295,000 a year – added that he would also ‘love’ to introduce new social class targets to combat the BBC’s tendency towards hiring privileged people.
‘We don’t have targets on socioeconomic [backgrounds] but we’re thinking about it…We would love to have a target, we would be very happy to do that,’ he said.
He added that the occupation of the parents of staff seemed to be the best predictor of social privilege. The BBC’s internal survey of staff found that more than half (52 per cent) have parents who were degree-educated – a figure rising to 55 per cent among managers.
The bias towards privilege is at its worst in the BBC’s news and current affairs division, and at its London headquarters. People who work in the regions are more likely to have gone to state school. firstname.lastname@example.org