Anonymise early stage of recruitment processes, African diaspora urges

More diversity among among interview panels could make for more diverse workplaces, survey suggests

Members of the African diaspora working in Ireland believe anonymising the early stages of companies’ recruitment procedures could help to promote diversity in workplaces.

In a survey published on Monday, the African Professional Network of Ireland (APNI) also found support for more ethnically diverse interview panels.

Almost four out of 10 (38 per cent) of the survey’s respondents said they believed their background had helped them forge successful careers in Ireland. But there was concern too that unconscious racial bias could impact on the prospect of candidates who had African names or completed their education at institutions that might be largely unknown to Irish employers.

As things stand, two-thirds of APNI members who participated in the survey believed unconscious racial bias or the tendency to hire “the same” impacted on their career potential.


About half of the respondents backed the idea of anonymising the initial stages of job applications while 70 per cent felt more diversity among interviewers would be a good thing.

Suggestions that skill sets, rather than academic qualification or the college they were attained in, be the metric by which candidates were judged and that internship programmes specifically aimed at candidates from diverse backgrounds be developed were supported by 53 and 46 per cent of respondents respectively.

APNI has more than 3,000 members and its survey was conducted during a recent careers day attended by 19 companies including LinkedIn, which helped to organise the event, Google, Irish Life, Vodafone, Mercury Engineering, MSD, Kellogg, Aviva, Workday, Zurich and Bank of Ireland.

About half of the respondents also suggested they would like to see existing staff receive training aimed at combating unconscious racial bias, something respondents believe could have a long-term positive impact.

The introduction of ambassadors from existing staff to speak about diversity and serve as role models for those seeking to advance their careers was another idea that received support from the organisation’s members.

“Workplaces across Ireland are becoming much more diverse, as evidenced by the growing optimism among our members about the career opportunities available to them,” said APNI career lead Sewagodimo Matlapeng.

“That said, however, there is still a lot of progress to be made in terms of ensuring that Irish companies are reflective of the society they exist in today.

“A big part of that is evolving hiring practices to ensure that everyone is being considered in the same light and that people are not missing out on job opportunities because of their name or due to the university they went to being unfamiliar.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times