BCS To Tackle ‘Unconscious Bias’

Each Wednesday, we will be bringing you an article of interest as it
pertains to the topic of accessibility and we hope you can use it to become
more familiar with this particular area.
This has become a rapidly growing and very important area and why?
Because the number of consumers in this market is growing and will continue
to do so for the forseeable future.
Governments, corporations, and individuals are paying more attention.
Please read on.
The Sterling Creations team
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Taken from:
e-access bulletin, a free monthly email newsletter’,
http://www.headstar.com/eab

BCS To Tackle ‘Unconscious Bias’ Against Disabled IT
Job Applicants

Training to tackle “unconscious bias” against disabled job
applicants by recruitment staff at IT firms has been launched
by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

The institute is to receive £18,000 of funding from Royal
Academy of Engineering to support bias training after signing
up to the academy’s Engineering Diversity Concordat (
http://www.raeng.org.uk/about/diversity/resources/eng_div_con
cordat.htm ). The training is aimed at tackling unconscious bias
affecting disability, race, sexual orientation, age, obesity and
gender.

About 300 BCS specialist group and branch committee
members will be trained initially by the end of 2015, with the
intention of ensuring those key individuals spread the learning
more widely throughout the institute’s membership.

“We are hard-wired to prefer people who look like us, sound
like us and share our interests”, Rebecca George, chair of the
BCS policy and public affairs board, told E-Access Bulletin
this week.

“Unconscious biases are simply our natural people preferences
but this can lead to us making poor decisions, particularly
around recruitment. It means that we are less likely to recruit
people who do not look or sound like us, and this can lead to a
workforce which doesn’t fully represent the demographics of
society.”

Examples of action to tackle bias include removing names and
photos from CVs and training interviewers in guarding against
unconscious bias, George said.

“The first step is to help individuals become aware of their
own unconscious bias which can be done through self-
assessment”, she said. “Our aim is to raise awareness of
unconscious bias through research, case studies and
explanations of what it is, as well explaining the gap between
explicit and implicit bias.”

To illustrate the urgency of the IT profession’s need for such
traning, George quoted diversity analyst Tinu Cornish, a
psychologist at consultancy Different With Difference, who
has said: “At the current rate of change it will be 2080 before
we elect a representative government, 2085 before we close the
gender pay gap, and probably never before we close the
disability employment gap”.

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