Temping agency Accent to distribute only anonymous CVs

Accent, one of Belgium's three largest temping agencies, will start sharing only anonymous CVs with employers from 1 February, De Standaard writes on Tuesday. By doing so, Accent hopes to combat possible discrimination in the job market.

Specifically, employers will only see the initials of the person. The applicant's age will not be shared, nor will any periods of inactivity. However, employers can see the applicant's qualifications and work experience.

With this approach, Accent hopes to make it easier for older applicants and candidates from different backgrounds to get a job interview. "The aim is to get employers to look at prospective employees as openly as possible", Accent CEO Anouk Lagae told De Standaard. ​

"There have already been people who have now received a job from a company, who might otherwise not have come for an interview"

A limited-scale pilot project that has been running since September yielded positive results. "There have already been people who have now received a job from a company, who might otherwise not have come for an interview," Lagae said.

Flemish Work Minister Jo Brouns (CD&V) has instructed the Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training (VDAB) to investigate discrimination in the labour market. "We will investigate different types of discrimination, from age to gender and origin. The research will take place in 38 sectors in cooperation with professor Stijn Baert and Ghent University. The results should be known after the summer."

Frederik Anseel, professor of management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, warns on Twitter to think twice before asking the Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training also to pass on anonymous CVs. He refers to an experiment in France from 2015, which found adverse effects of this approach. Moreover, Actiris, the Brussels counterpart of the VDAB, already did a pilot project with such CVs more than ten years ago. There too, the evaluation was not unequivocally positive.

"The experiments of recent years all die a quiet death," labour market expert Jan Denys adds. "I don't find the case of Accent very convincing either, as I don't see any figures supporting the success of their experiment." Denys further stresses that CV selection is the first step in the recruitment process. "In the steps that follow, discrimination can still occur."


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