Only 1.4 per cent of jobseekers choose anonymous applications

Only 1.4 per cent of jobseekers choose to apply for jobs anonymously through the Flemish public employment service VDAB, regional Labour minister Jo Brouns said in the Flemish parliament on Thursday.

Anonymous job applications came into the spotlight at the beginning of this year when temporary employment agency Accent launched the new system. Accent wanted to combat discrimination and draw more attention to skills and competences.

Brouns then announced that he would ​ introduce the idea to VDAB. Since then, 1.4 per cent of jobseekers at VDAB have opted for an anonymous application. "The jobseeker can decide which data related to his profile (name, address, studies, work experience or language skills) will be shown to employers," says Brouns. "Personal data such as age, gender or nationality can also be hidden."

"It is more important to focus on eliminating the prejudices themselves"

However, he says, anonymous applications are not a solution to all problems. "Anonymous applications can help to eliminate certain prejudices on the part of employers, but (...) if an employer has certain prejudices against certain people, these can also manifest themselves later in the selection process. It is therefore more important to focus on eliminating the prejudices themselves."

Positive results

According to advocates, research shows that anonymous applications increase the chances of both women and ethnic minorities being invited to a job interview. A limited pilot project at Accent, which began in September of 2022, yielded positive results. "There have already been people who have now been offered a job by a company who might not otherwise have come for an interview," the company said in January this year.

From February, the agency decided to only send anonymous CVs to employers. Brouns then asked the VDAB to investigate discrimination in the labour market and later allowed anonymous applications via the VDAB.



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