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BBC are removing qualifications from job applications - does this broaden horizons or devalue achievements?


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The BBC has discovered from a recent survey that many of its employees stem from a privileged financial and social background.

The survey discovered that 17% of its staff and 25% of its management team had attended private schools, and many of which (52%) had parents with a degree-educated background; all of which above the national average.


Photo: Christine Matthews

These findings have led the BBC to make goals regarding creating a workplace which is more representative of society as a whole. In order to ensure they hire from less economically well-off backgrounds, the BBC has started removing names and educational backgrounds from job applications.  

Despite the fact that removing qualifications from job applications can reduce discrimination on a social level, it raises the question of whether the workplace truly values qualifications. 

Many jobs now require a formal form of qualification to allow you to be considered for the role or to even be entered for a form of training. With many managers considering those applicants with a degree (particularly a high one) to be the pedigree of the job world, it is clear that qualifications and degrees are of a massive value to companies. To these companies, degrees are not just an indication of knowledge, but a series of built skill sets, crafted throughout the degree process.

Yet, with recent criticisms over degrees being worth their money and value, combined with a drop in applicants, it appears that the attitude that degrees hold little real-life value has begun to seep into the workplace, with real work experience being valued more than academic qualifications. 

Some may consider this move by the BBC to be absurd (I know I did at first) as it devalues the hard work and dedication, and not to mention money, that goes into getting such degrees in the first place. 


Furthermore, removing qualifications from applications may create instances of well-deserving and high-potential candidates being passed over for those with greater work experience. While not all jobs at the BBC are directly connected to media, for those applying for such roles, the challenge of gaining valid work experience can both be a sacrificial and challenging experience, which takes time and dedication.

Too often, students are finding internships to be over-applied for and, in some circumstances, they fail to meet their financial expectations. It can be critically noted that, by the BBC removing the qualification element from their hiring process, they are not broadening, but are rather reducing opportunities for those who are capable, but otherwise lack work experience.

However, others will be happy to see a shift in employment tactics - particularly those who chose the alternative route of not obtaining a degree. Such a move by the BBC opens up opportunities for people coming from different pathways, to enter a prestigious work environment which can allow their potential to thrive. 

Though it appears discriminatory against qualifications at first, this move from the BBC is a signal that the working world is beginning to change its attitudes regarding the eligibility of people with various qualifications and life experiences for the same job. Perhaps in the future, journalism work won't require simply a high-grade degree, but would be willing to accept apprentices and those with only experience also. 

With this aside, the BBC further makes specific mention that this development is to ensure the hiring of candidates from less prestigious backgrounds; those being people who did not attend a private school or were educated at Oxford or Cambridge. While this move is beneficial to everyone, providing equal opportunities and chances regardless of social background, it does still ignore the hard work and dedication that many put into their qualifications.

Perhaps it would have been less controversial if the BBC had decided to remove only institution names from applications, still acknowledging the qualification element of job applications. This would reduce discrimination based on social and prestigious educational backgrounds, yet still identify qualifications as valid achievements.

Overall, the BBC's move to reduce social discrimination in their workplace and hiring methods can be praised as being forward thinking for making a move to identify candidates from all societal and educational backgrounds as potential employees. However, it critically touches hard on those who have worked for their degree, making their effort, time and money feel less valued. 

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