Improving Diversity and Social Mobility through Recruitment

The University of Manchester’s Careers Service is committed to working with recruiters to improve social mobility and diversity in the workplace as talented students from less privileged backgrounds sometimes face barriers which may prevent them from competing fairly with their peers in the graduate recruitment market. These barriers could include a lack of personal and professional networks; a lack of financial means to undertake internships or other opportunities; a disability, a long-term health or mental health condition; or it could simply be a lack of confidence when applying for jobs.

The Careers Service is dedicated to improving the skills and graduate destinations of our widening participation (WP) students and we welcome working with recruiters on this important agenda.

Employers' quick reference guide

Improving diversity and social mobility in an organisation is not an easy task. There is no quick fix; employers should make a long-term commitment to creating a diverse workforce.

Listed below are some steps you can take to start improving inclusivity in your recruitment practices:

  • Ensure messages in marketing materials and job adverts have wide appeal with inclusive messaging.
  • Consider who you send to represent your organisation at campus events. It is important for students to see people they can identify with.
  • Similarly, ensure that recruitment panels are diverse and not formed of single ethnicity or single genders.
  • Add social mobility and diversity questions to your application process.
  • Encourage applicants to ask for workplace adjustments relating to a disability, health condition or mental health condition during the application process.
  • Ensure that assessors appreciate that applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds may not have access to some premium experiences (e.g. extra-curricular activities, internships and studying abroad).
  • Reimburse applicants who incur travel costs (e.g. to attend an assessment centre).
  • Balance competency-based approaches with strengths-based assessment and situational judgement testing as they have fewer negative effects on underrepresented groups.
  • Monitor data during the application process to identify where diversity is low.
  • Review your policies and approaches to flexible working.

For more information about increasing social diversity in your intake, please use the following resources:

The ISE Social Mobility Toolkit is structured to help you cover all aspects of social mobility within your organisation. In the toolkit you will find information on how to develop your strategy, attract candidates from a more diverse talent pool, build an unbiased selection process and create a development programme that retains your talent.

This Social Mobility Commission Toolkit offers practical help and ideas to help support employers who are seeking to attract and develop talent from all socio-economic backgrounds.