1 October 2015

So you’ve worked hard for academic success, studying three or four years earning your degree, if not more. You’ve donned the famous cap and gown, stepped onto the stage, shook the hand of someone very important and graduated while your family cheered in the background. It’s an incredible achievement.

cap and gown education in the uk

So what happens when an employer takes a look at your degree and compares it to someone with the same qualification but from a different university? Because you didn’t graduate from one of the top schools, you’re judged as less worthy of a candidate. It is almost unbelievable but it happens.

Whilst I don’t necessarily believe that university is an essential step to a successful career, I understand its role, especially in the professional services. I cannot imagine the feeling of being judged on the university that you attended rather than the achievements that you made and the person that you are. It’s something that I could never even consider doing here at UKFast.

That’s why I was pleased to read in the news this morning that Deloitte are to hide this field of information from applicants CVs. No longer will recruiters be able to see which university the applicant attended. The firm says that this is to prevent ‘unconscious bias’ and to tap into a more diverse talent pool and I couldn’t agree more.

I have been vocal in the past about qualifications and skills, and I do believe that attitude is far more important what a CV says about a person. Making a snap decision based upon a school does not give you the insight into that person nor into how they will fit into your team – unless of course your team consists of graduates from only one institution!

Bringing in graduates from a diverse range of schools, I think, is only going to add to the skills within the business. Each university teaches subjects – and life skills – differently, each has varied access to real-world businesses and each is run in its own unique way. That means that graduates from each also inherit these variances and have vastly different experiences to one another which they then bring into the workplace. Surely that’s a great thing?

Deloitte’s announcement is the latest in a wave of positive moves from the industry and I hope is one of many more to come. Ernst and Young recently revealed that they are removing the requirement of the equivalent of three B grades at A-level or graduates to have an upper second class degree, removing academic and education details from its application process. Whilst PwC earlier have also said that they’re to remove the threshold of A-levels grades for graduate recruits.

Back in June I wrote about a similar topic: a report that had been released by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission which found that young people are missing out on top jobs simply because they come from less privileged backgrounds. And, as I said back then, I believe that people from these backgrounds strive harder, they understand the working world and you can clearly see their raw potential. Until more firms understand this, they are missing out on a huge talent pool of people with a fantastic attitude and great potential.

What do you think? Can the university that you attended be a reflective measure of the employee you are?

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