From education to employment

One million jobs open to disadvantaged jobseekers through BITC’s Opening Doors campaign

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Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today announced that more than 50 employers have signed up to its Opening Doors campaign, together committing to make one million jobs more inclusive. BITC’s Opening Doors campaign was launched in February 2022 to encourage employers to adopt inclusive recruitment practices in order to fill vacancies and build a more diverse workforce.

With the number of job vacancies remaining at very high levels across the UK and many employers struggling to recruit, Opening Doors aims to remove barriers for disadvantaged jobseekers, including people with disabilities, refugees, education leavers, homeless jobseekers, older and younger people, and those with criminal convictions.

ONS data from April 2023 shows that one in five (1.7 million) people that are economically inactive say that they want a job, and 1.3 million people are unemployed. Even with the number of vacancies available in the UK falling slightly since December 2022, the ratio of the total number of unemployed and economically inactive people who want to work compared to jobs available is 3:1. [2] This shows that if employers recruited inclusively, this could allow them to tap into a wider and more diverse talent pool. The Opening Doors campaign asks employers to:

  • Partner with organisations that support disadvantaged groups into work 
  • Show commitment to inclusion by training hiring managers on inclusive recruitment and advertising jobs on channels that target diverse groups
  • Use comprehensive job descriptions with inclusive language
  • Focus on the essential skills needed for the job
  • Prioritise accessibility and eliminating bias

More than 50 employers across the UK, including Tesco, AXA, Heathrow Airport, Marks and Spencer and Lloyds Banking Group, have committed to recruit more inclusively by 2025. When the campaign was launched BITC set a target to make two million jobs more inclusive by 2025. 

Nicola Inge, Social Impact Director at Business in the Community, said:

“With many employers struggling to recruit, the calls to action in the Opening Doors campaign ensure that an organisation’s recruitment process is not inadvertently shutting out disadvantaged jobseekers. Certain recruitment practices, such as focusing solely on education rather than skills, could be adding to the problems that many employers are experiencing due to the current labour market shortages. 

“Since BITC launched the campaign, employers are increasingly seeing inclusive recruitment as a business priority. We are delighted that Tesco are the latest business to sign up to the campaign, joining 50 others who are collectively working with us to make two million jobs more inclusive by 2025.”

Emma Taylor, Chief People Officer at Tesco plc, said:

“We are proud to support BITC in their Opening Doors Campaign, as inclusivity is at the forefront of our recruitment process. Providing equal opportunities is central to the way that we operate as a business, and key to supporting our colleagues on their career journeys. 

“Becoming an Opening Doors employer allows us to build on the progress we have made through our Diversity & Inclusion strategy and commit to driving further improvements. At Tesco, we recognise and celebrate the value of a diverse workplace, and BITC’s campaign aligns perfectly with our aim of making sure that Everyone is Welcome at Tesco.”

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