The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Deloitte’s Use of Contextual Data Leads to Boost in Workforce Diversity


Deloitte’s use of contextual data has seen it make almost 200 offers for its coveted student training programmes to candidates who ‘outperformed the norm’ within their educational and home environments.

The global professional services firm – one of Britain’s largest graduate employers – started contextualising student applications in 2015 using technology from Rare, the diversity recruitment specialist. Rare’s Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) helps organisations access talented graduates and apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is the first technology and data-driven tool of its kind in the UK, which hardwires social mobility metrics into companies’ existing student recruitment databases. Not only does this allow firms to see at a glance the achievements of candidates, but it also provides the context in which those achievements were gained, taking into consideration several factors, including postcode, school quality and eligibility for free school meals, refugee status and time spent in care.

Emma Codd, Managing Partner for talent at Deloitte said:

“The 200 hires made over the past three years represent a real success in terms of opening up our profession to all applicants, whatever their background. But I know there is still more we have to do to break down barriers to social mobility and make clear that our profession is open to all. In addition to using contextualised data we have done a lot of work to guard against the risk of unconscious bias, including introducing ‘blind’ recruitment where we remove candidate names and names of schools and universities from the documentation relating to the candidate that is visible during the recruitment process.”

Deloitte joins a host of blue-chip firms that have signed up to the CRS, including Savills, Boston Consulting Group and Linklaters. Inspired by Big Data processes, and the selection techniques used by the UK’s leading universities that make differential offers to students based on ‘contextual data’, the CRS was based on a two-year research project conducted by Rare, and sponsored by international law firm (and founding partner of the CRS), Clifford Chance. Rare has found that 50 per cent more disadvantaged candidates are hired when organisations adopt the CRS.

Raph Mokades, Founder and MD of Rare, said:

“Deloitte has made huge strides using the CRS. We are delighted that such an industry heavyweight is taking positive action to drive more diverse representation. Commercial success and a commitment to promoting diversity go hand in hand.”