Recruiters and law firms join forces to ensure diversity and race equality

Thirty-four recruitment agencies have signed up to a new initiative aimed at ensuring that black and ethnic minority jobseekers get the same opportunities to compete for roles as similarly qualified white counterparts.

Launched by recruitment firm Rare and five leading law firms, the Recruitment Agency Race Fairness Commitment (RFC) will see agencies and law firms take proactive steps to ensure black and ethnic minority candidates are just as likely to be contacted about, apply for, interview for, and be offered career opportunities, a statement from Rare said.

“Crucially, this initiative is about maximising opportunities for experienced and senior candidates, as well as entry-level, to ensure a ‘top-down’ as well as ‘bottom-up’ effect on diversity in organisations,” the statement said. “Candidates join an organisation at one of two stages: at entry level or through lateral recruitment, meaning racial equity of opportunity must be addressed at all recruitment points.”

The five founding member law firms are Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Slaughter and May, and Travers Smith.

The recruitment firms that have signed up to the RFC to date are: Ambition, Anthem, Ardent, Baldwin Boyes, BCL Legal, Brewer Morris, Career Legal, Carter Murray, CB Resourcing, DGH Recruitment, DVF, Frazer Jones, Front of House Recruitment, Glen Recruitment, Hydrogen, HYF, Jameson Contract Solutions, Jameson Legal, Langley Search, Law Absolute, Law Choice, Leighton Taylor, Lexstep.com, Michael Page, Page Group, Page Personnel, Picture More, RedLaw, Ryder Reid, Sam Stafford Search, SSQ, Stanford, Strictly Recruitment and Taylor Root.

Among the range of measures in the RFC is one demanding “hard, factual feedback on any ethnic minority candidates not hired. ‘Didn’t fit’ and ‘something is not quite right’ are not acceptable reasons for not hiring and are often code for bias”.

Recruitment agencies will be asked, on an annual basis, to submit evidence of progress in relation to the nine points in the RFC. The statement said: “This will be reviewed by a steering group, comprised of representatives from Rare and the founding law firms.”

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