NEW POLL: is it time to make job applications anonymous?

by Stephen Tall on July 2, 2009

Followers of Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone’s blog can’t have failed to notice her latest campaign – to bring in mandatory anonymous job applications “to end the subliminal discrimination that creeps in with some applications being discarded because of the names on them.” Specifically Lynne wants employers to remove names and replace them with a number on application letters/forms – otherwise “we end up with people not being discarded from the first sift of applications because their name shows they are black, female or old”. Lynne explained further:

… initial findings [from research by the Department of Work & Pensions] are of significant discrimination. And whilst it is clearly early days and the DWP is going to do more work – it seems clear to me that – first – those who argued there isn’t a problem which needs fixing in particular need to look very closely at what the DWP has been finding, and second – here is a simple proposal which costs business nothing but could actually deliver enormous benefits in removing discrimination in the job market.

Removing such discrimination is not only important in itself – but by providing people with equal opportunities to earn their living, it opens up all sorts of other knock-on benefits in terms of social cohesion and economic efficiency, which we all benefit from.

What do Lib Dem Voice readers think? Is Lynne right to pursue this campaign as the party’s equalities spokesperson? Or do you think it’s unworkable – and, if so, why? Here’s the question:
Do you support the idea of job applications being made anonymous?

And here are your options:

  • Yes, it should be made mandatory for all businesses to remove all discrimination
  • Yes, but it should be voluntary not mandatory for businesses
  • No, this is an unnecessary measure
  • Other [please state in comments]
  • Don’t know
  • Feel free to continue the debate in the comments thread below…