In furtherance of his bid to improve social mobility, Nick Clegg has managed to get 200 of the biggest employers to sign up to his Business Compact so far.

A part of this Compact is to use anonymous CVs. It is hoped that this practice will finally get rid of the old notion, it's not what you know but who you know. Some feel that this problem has actually worsened as people battle to secure one of the few jobs available.


The Deputy Prime Minister described this part of the compact as “an important step towards a society where it’s what you know, not who you know, that counts. Working with the Coalition, the biggest hitters in British business are helping lead the way to a fairer, more open society.”  Launched in April of last year, the Compact aims to ensure that those with the necessary talent get to where they want in life regardless of background or in this case, connections. So far the Deputy Prime Minister has convinced some of the biggest banks and retailers, alongside major law firms, which in the past have been regarded as among the worst of professions for the use of “old boys networks”, to sign up. Other employers include big names such as Coca Cola, Proctor and Gamble and E.ON. More companies are hoped to be added to this list.

The Deputy Prime Minister looks at the Compact as a first important step towards a cultural shift. “By opening their doors to young people from all walks of life, this marks the start of a culture shift among major employers, driven by the belief that ability and drive should trump connections and privilege.” Statistics back up the need for such a scheme, for example, despite the small number of people who attend independent schools, 7 percent, over half the people in the top level of many different professions come from private schools. While a nameless CV might help an applicant get to an interview there remains the perhaps subconscious discrimination that could take place at the interview itself.

Signing up to the Compact must be more than something to make a business look good however. When they sign up businesses have to agree to take part in schemes to support local school such as mentoring programmes. In an effort to make opportunities more widely available these businesses must agree to advertise their positions throughout schools. Any internships should have open and transparent application processes and ensure that there is at least a minimum wage for taking part. Last year the Deputy Prime Minister criticised unpaid internships saying that it was unrealistic for those from less wealthy backgrounds to be able to take part in them and to build up their CV if they were not being remunerated. The scheme aims to ensure that individuals cannot be ruled out for a position based on where they went to school for example. These are important principles and practices that all employers can take away whether a part of the Compact or not.

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