Tackling the diversity deadlock

Action from business heads, industry sectors and the Government is urgently required to drive a more diverse and inclusive uptake of earn and learn placements, according to a new report published by The 5% Club.

The report, Breaking the Deadlock, also outlines top tips to help companies offering earn and learn opportunities to attract, identify and retain candidates from every background.

Despite research which proves that businesses with a diverse workforce consistently outperform those without, hidden barriers to diversity still exist in recruitment processes and early career workforces remain imbalanced.

Only 11.3% of apprenticeship starts are made by BAME applicants and, whilst women represent more than half of all apprentices (54%), women represent only 8.1% of those in STEM. Just 10% of apprenticeship starts are by people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. 

Leo Quinn, Chairman and Founder of The 5% Club, and Group Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty said:

“The 5% Club stands strong in our belief that the diversity and inclusion deadlock can indeed be broken - and action must be taken immediately given the skills gaps which exist across our economy.

“The Government must also play its part, using the levers it has available. It must provide balanced careers advice, educating teachers, young people and parents from all backgrounds, about the range of earn and learn opportunities available, as well as encouraging young people – especially girls – to study STEM subjects.”

Shaking up traditional diversity and inclusion approaches

The 5% Club asked a selection of its members for their top tips.

  1. Introduce blind CVs. The removal of details such as names, gender, age, education, number of years of experience, university or education provider names, will remove bias.
  2. Seek out new ways of finding possible candidates and target those which are likely to help increase diversity, including specific social media, websites and career fairs.
  3. Unconscious bias training to ensure that hiring managers are aware of their own potential biases, are able to look beyond them and make decisions based on the suitability of the candidate for the role and company.
  4. Reciprocal mentoring, or the pairing of senior executives with either people younger than them, of a different gender or race, to give a new perspective and deeper understanding of the challenges faced by these groups.
  5. Ensuring that the CEO and board are responsible for the diversity and inclusion strategy, in order to give it a level of status within the business that shows how important it is.

Read the full report


About the 5% Club

The 5% Club is made up of 300 members from across sectors including finance, hospitality, construction and engineering. STEM Learning is proud to be a member of The 5% Club and is committed to progressing their own apprentices and trainees through paid to learn opportunities.

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