Well if you rely on a First or 2:1 Degree classification as part of your recruitment selection criteria, then you are excluding more males than females, who study full-time.   The same however, can also be said of females who study part-time who are also less likely to have a First or 2:1 Degree than females who study full-time.  Results of full-time students from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (UK) illustrate that more women than men achieve a First or 2:1 grade:

Table 1: % of Full-Time Students Graduating with a First or 2:1 Degree Classification by Gender

Year

Males

Females

2010 / 2011

61%

66%

2011 / 2012

63%

68%

2012 / 2013

65%

70%

2013 / 2014

67%

72%

(Source HESA – UK)

The results over these past four years show that 5% less males achieve these degree classifications.

This arbitrary cut-off point will in reality potentially eliminate good candidates.  There are many examples of people who didn’t excel in school or university going on to achieve in their work. It is of course, perfectly understandable that busy recruiters will defend relying on a First or 2:1 Degree, due to the number of applications they receive.  However, surely the first issue for any organisation is to get the ‘right people’ to work for them.

The situation is also compounded when comparing students, including females, 60% of whom study part-time.

Table 2: % of First Year Part-Time Student Enrolments by Gender

  Year

Part-Time Female Students

Part-Time Male Students

2010 / 2011

60.3%

39.7%

2011 / 2012

59.6%

40.4%

2012 / 2013

60.3%

39.7%

2013 / 2014

59.3%

40.7%

(Source HESA – UK)

Table 3: % of Part-time students obtaining a First or 2.1 Degree Classification:

  Year

% of First or 2.1 Degree Obtained for Part-Time Students

2010 / 2011

51%

2011 / 2012

53%

2012 / 2013

53%

2013 / 2014

54%

(Source HESA – UK)

In the 2011/2012 year 61% (rounded) of female part-time students gained a First or 2:1 Degree.  This is the same percentage as males who studied full-time.  For the same year 53% of females and males obtained a First or 2:1 Degree. (Source HESA – UK).

Whilst the heading of this article was entitled ‘Recruitment of Men – are they excluded?’ this is true when you consider students studying full time.  The same is also true in that by relying on a First or 2:1 Degree, you are also potentially excluding many females and males who study part-time.  Maybe recruiters need to reconsider the selection process and the use of degree classifications for selection purposes.

Recently Ernst & Young, one of the UK’s leading accountancy and business consultancies for their 2016 recruitment campaign are no longer relying on degree classifications for their recruitment campaign.  Instead they will rely on a range of psychometric testing and strengths based profiles to recruit and select employees.  From a diversity perspective, is there a need to reconsider this issue?