Feeds

Should you lose your religion on your CV?

An equal opps dilemma for employers and employees

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Comment Your CV should tell prospective employers who you are - but should that include details of your religious faith?

I headhunt science grads for banks, and recently received a CV with the applicant's religion right at the top. We’ve always told people not to do this for purely pragmatic reasons. Whatever your religion, there are people who may hate you for it, or it wastes space, and it won’t help much even if they are the same faith as you. I checked that last point by asking some hiring managers whose religion I knew, and they were either indifferent or were quite offended at the idea that someone thought they’d hire them for that reason.

Also, several of our contracts with major banks explicitly forbid us from adding notes that disclose religion, age, sex, perceived sexuality, race, marital status, etc. That is of course because all the banks we deal with have the highest ethical standards in recruitment as in the rest of their business activities... and they don’t like being sued.

That's why our guide to quant careers says this quite explicitly. I genuinely believe that banking is less bigoted than most businesses. That’s based on having done time in the media, construction, manufacturing and training sectors and having noticed that government and the civil service is almost wholly run by middle-aged white blokes like me. Harriet Harman’s campaign for more jobs for middle-class white women like her is unlikely to change that.

The banking wannabe had been told by his college careers department that because he had a “Muslim sounding name” he ought to make sure people knew he wasn’t. When I heard this, I found that I didn’t have advice that I felt was good enough.

Some people’s ethics would say that I should tell him to remove this “offensive” nonsense, but my principles are that I give the best advice I can, and unless I felt that he was lying, it is not my place to screw with someone’s career just to further my social agenda.

You might feel that the idea of a City headhunter having ethics to be quite funny, and I live with that. I want to do the best for my clients, but still don't know what I should advise.

One reason for caring about this is that on our database of highly paid bankers “Mohammed” is the most common name: a fact that surprises and upsets readers of both the Daily Mail and the Guardian. This is partly driven by these candidates' (on average) better education and reluctance to study dross like Media Studies or French.

I need to have an answer to the question that serves their career objectives, not mine. It is made more complex by the fact that I get more bitching from overt Christians about their treatment than Muslims, non-white people and women put together. That may be sampling error, but more likely reflects the education of the people in banks these days.

To do the research I did for the “don’t ask don’t tell” advice I had to talk to managers that I knew well enough to get a straight answer. If I had asked HR they would have sharply told me in no uncertain terms that they were equal opportunity employers. And most genuinely mean it.

A couple of years back we ran a big graduate careers event for a huge bank, and I casually referred to 250 graduates of Oxbridge, Warwick, QMC, and Imperial as “bright young things”. I got a glare from the HR executive that would have frozen a weaker man, and was left in no doubt that such language was unacceptable.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay
Employees to walk out in long-running wage dispute
Phones 4u demise: 1,700 employees laid off with redundo package
'Limited interest in remaining 362 stores', says administrator PwC
Amazon hiring in Australia for 'new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative'
Is Jeff Bezos moving his grocery business beyond the US West Coast?
Blighty's mighty tech skills shortage drives best job growth in years
Doesn't anyone know anything about SQL? Or Java? Or Linux? Or programming? Or...
Microsoft changes cert test providers, hints at fun new exams
If you really love taking tests with Prometric, do 'em before Christmas
Symantec security chap signs for CSIRO's ICT In Schools
Vulture South is closing in on our goal of 20 new recruits to help teachers and kids
A-level results: Before you smile at that jump-for-joy snap...
Uni-ditching teens are COMING FOR YOUR JOBS
How to promote CSIRO's ICT in Schools in your community
Vulture South is closing in on its target to find volunteers to help teach tech in schools
Everyone's an IoT expert but now there's a certificate to prove it
Cisco creates Certification of Things for industrial sensor-footlers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.