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Parliamentary Group hears from University of Sussex on recruiting diverse talent

L-R: Claire Annesley, Lenny Rolles, Beatriz Lacerda Ratton, Alice Ingall and Anna Ford at the launch of the APPG report in Parliament.

A cross-party group of MPs and Peers has heard from the University of Sussex about a review of the University’s recruitment processes to make them fairer.

The Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which is supported by a number of organisations including the University of Sussex, is calling on employers to recognise that changes to recruitment processes can provide opportunities for women across sectors and from different backgrounds.

Suggestions and recommendations for changes are given in the group’s new toolkit, How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century, which includes information about recent developments at Sussex. 

In 2018, the University announced its Flexible Sussex policy, meaning that all new jobs are advertised as open to flexible working from day one, across all levels. The APPG report notes: “In order to implement this, they [the University of Sussex] did not need to change their working policies, just how they were being used. Their default answer to flexible employment requests is now ‘yes’, unless there is a genuine business reason to say ‘no’.”

The report also includes a case study of two Media Relations Managers at the University of Sussex who work in a job share promoting academic research and the activities of students.

Alice Ingall and Anna Ford have different and complementary backgrounds; together, their professional experience of over 20 years spans a spectrum of journalist contacts and media styles, meaning that academics and students can tap into a wide range of expertise.

The two women went to London at the end of January for the launch of the APPG report in Parliament. They were joined by Professor Claire Annesley, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality and Diversity) at Sussex, recent Sussex Politics graduate Beatriz Lacerda Ratton, and Lenny Rolles, Head of Public Affairs.

Lenny said: “The APPG has enabled the University to contribute to discussions related to government policy and provides a good opportunity to increase awareness of Sussex in Parliament. The report urges government to consider how they can encourage other employers to take a similar approach to our Flexible Sussex policy.”  

Gillian Keegan MP, Co-Chair of the Women and Work APPG, said: “We have published this call for action to employers, to encourage them to think differently about how, where and who they hire, as part of an open and inclusive recruitment process. We’ve also called on government to support employers to do this.”

Jess Phillips MP, Co-Chair of the Women and Work APPG, said: “If employers are to successfully hire and attract the best, diverse talent, they need to take recruitment seriously and review their processes.

“This toolkit encourages employers and policy-makers to make those changes, giving practical steps that will go some way in shifting persistent obstacles that women face when entering and re-entering the labour market.”

The Women and Work APPG was set up in 2016 in response to an increasing public and political focus on the role of women in the workforce and the acknowledgement from government that the UK economy underuses women’s talents and misses out on a “huge economic prize”.

The theme for the Women and Work APPG in 2019 is Inclusivity and Intersectionality. 


Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 8 February 2019

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