Graduate schemes biased against diversity

A significant number of graduates are dissatisfied by graduate schemes as they feel they favour people from a particular type of background.

Research from Tempo, a recruitment platform that utilises technology, has revealed that just under a third (30 per cent) of graduates feel that graduate schemes are tailored biasedly towards those who are from a specific background.

In fact, 39 per cent said that the main improvement which could be made to the application process for graduate schemes was greater accessibility for those with different qualifications and backgrounds.

There was also a clear cut divide between the two genders in regards to graduate schemes.

As 44 per cent of men complete graduate schemes whereas only around half of this number of females (27 per cent) do the same.

Furthermore, less than half of females feel positive about their graduate schemes on completion (46 per cent) compared to their male counterparts, of which 56 per cent of men reported feeling positive.

Additionally, one in five men are satisfied with their pay whereas, for women, this number drops to just over one in ten (12 per cent).

According to research conducted by the Government in a report entitled ‘Social Mobility in Great Britain 2018-19’, similar findings were revealed. It was shown that a year after graduation, there is a earnings median gap of 10 per cent between those who were eligible for free school meals (FSM) and those who were not, indicating a bias towards wealthier graduates.


Ben Chatfield, CEO and co-founder at Tempo, said:

Hardly a day passes without a major business releasing a new policy on culture and inclusion. Yet many of these companies only attend Oxbridge graduate days, and recruit through traditional schemes and summer internships which only takes business diversity so far. At their worst, they perpetuate the UK class divide, blocking those without connections, experience or the financial backing to cover the cost of living during the application process. Today’s research proves, without question, that if businesses want to be diverse, they must completely rethink entry-level recruitment.

There are multiple advantages to diversity. Businesses that embrace variety are able to retain employees for longer,  adapt to market changes more easily, and have a wider pool of potential applicants. These all are critical factors in the overall success of any company and can no longer be ignored.

Today’s results should stand as proof that solely using traditional systems fails to attract diverse employees. It is no longer a point of debate – if you care about diversity, you must develop a system that caters to the expectations of those entering the workforce.

Tempo surveyed 1,000 current or recent graduates (graduated in the last three years) to obtain these results and this survey was conducted by Independent research agency, Opinium in June 2019.

Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.