Gender Equality Awards 2016: The Talent Pipeline Award - Royal Mail

Frontline Attractions Resourcing Strategy

Award Type: 

At the end of the 2014 / 2015 financial year, women accounted for just 14.5% of Royal Mail’s frontline positions within Operations. Analysis showed that if no action was taken, representation of women would rise by just 0.5% over the next five years against an industry benchmark of 19%. Unless the restricting process was changed, Royal Mail would never achieve industry benchmark.

Royal Mail set a target that 35% of all new recruits into frontline roles would be female. However, previous initiatives have only achieved marginal success. The strategy towards female recruitment needed to change, with new initiatives that were practical, sustainable and likely to achieve the targets set.

In October 2014 Royal Mail appointed a new recruitment partner, resulting in emphasising frontline roles’ impact on communities in recruitment materials. Job adverts were repositioned to reach a wider audience and Royal Mail held female-focussed open days in the South East region for frontline operational staff to challenge perceptions and allow potential applicants to talk to current female employees.

Royal Mail also ran a regional Balanced Shortlisting pilot, following research indicating that if women got to interview stage they were more likely to successfully obtain a role. The ratio of candidates put forward for interview was increased to four per vacancy and gender balanced. Where there are low levels of female applicants, HR services provide the most balanced shortlist possible and record for future campaigns.

Job specific questions in the interview guide were amended to reduce bias and reinforce the need to make offers based on highest score first. Interview packs are reviewed for scoring consistency and are challenged back to the Head of Workforce Planning to investigate when this is not the case. New starter gender ratios are reported back to the relevant HR Director and monitored monthly  via the Diversity Scorecard, and recruitment advisors are trained to enable full deployment.

The new frontline recruitment strategy is a more complex, manual process but it continues to have significant impact. The community fairs resulted in a 10% increase in average female application rates and are now being rolled out in other areas. Balanced Shortlisting saw the female hire rate in early 2015 increase from 19% to 36% and is being expanded into other regions. It has not changed Royal Mail’s policy that candidates are treated on merit; female candidates who are shortlisted have met the fundamental requirements for the role and are judged equally against other shortlisted candidates. Royal Mail continually monitors the number of women in specific parts of Operations to confirm female representation continues to justify the steps taken to address this and ensure the actions taken are proportionate to the barriers women face in obtaining operational roles. Royal Mail considers itself a leader in this area, both within the sector and more widely, by making use of these provisions.