We spoke to David Ramsay, RSM UK's Resourcing Lead for North East, Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland, a leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services to middle market leaders, globally. Here, he shares the company’s approach to recruitment and older workers.
Can you introduce RSM’s story so far in the time it takes to make a cup of tea?
Yes: RSM are a Top 10 International Accountancy firm, specialising in assisting “middle-market” firms and individuals nationally, but on a local basis.
What steps have you taken to avoid age discrimination within your recruitment processes?
In order to make sure we employ based on skill, with no unconscious bias, RSM do not ask for any sort of age defining information when asking applicants to apply to us. Furthermore, we have recently undertaken an internal review to identify where we offer employees flexible (either formal or non-formal) working arrangements, so to be able to offer roles to candidates that may not want to work full time (working parents or soon to be retired candidates for example) across more areas of the business, in turn helping us to be more diverse.
What inhouse training have you implemented to improve awareness of issues affecting older workers’ employment?
As a recruitment team, we constantly discuss how to create a fair and just application system to all individuals, and from a training perspective, take annual online assessments to reinforce this.
From your experiences so far, what are your top tips for avoiding age discrimination during the recruitment process?
Remove any unconscious bias where possible. For example, do you need to know when someone went to school or university, as this may indirectly identify someone’s age, therefore potentially creating bias with the person reviewing details. Discard stereotypes: older candidates may be perceived as “slow” or “not able to learn” whereas younger candidates are seen to be “energetic” and “go-getters”. Avoid falling into this trap and also avoid using words that steer towards a certain age group in your job description.
What is next for RSM in relation to recruitment and the Fuller Working Lives partnership?
As a business, there is no formal plans to review what we do in regards to older workers, as on the whole we do feel we are a diverse business in that sense That being said though, we are working with project teams around creating more opportunities for females and British, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates in the workplace, which will hopefully impact any negative perceptions of older workers as well.