Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Hogan Lovells are assessing a new way of monitoring graduate candidates.
The City firms have partnered with recruitment organisation Rare, which champions diverse talent. Through its scheme, Social Mobility in Graduate Recruitment: Potential not Polish, Rare aims to help employers to contextualise candidates by taking their backgrounds into account.
The method uses a flagging system and an algorithm, which places achievements in context. Rare also recommends that, rather than employers simply asking what work experience candidates have, they should enquire how that work experience was secured.
The flagging system functions by alerting recruiters to background factors such as if a candidate is a carer or parent, attends a school in the bottom 40 per cent of institutions or has spent longer than three months in the care system.
Rare advises employers to look more closely at candidates with two or more of a possible nine flags.
Managing director of Rare and co-author of the report Raphael Mokades said: “I believe that this report is both commercially exciting and socially important.
“It’s commercially exciting because many of our clients simply sell brainpower – when you engage with a law firm or a strategy consultancy or an advertising agency, you are really buying intellect, and the evidence from universities suggests that recruiting in this way gets you better results.
“And it is socially important because social mobility has stalled in the UK in the last thirty years – and the more people from socially deprived backgrounds who get into top jobs, the more things will start to move again.”
Rare’s existing law firm clients are: Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Macfarlanes, Shearman & Sterling, Slaughter and May and Travers Smith. Fountain Court Chambers is also signed up with the organisation.