Race Equality Awards 2017-Capgemini UK: Active inclusion

Capgemini relies on talent: the more diverse it is, the better the organisation understands its clients, and the greater its creativity, delivery and innovation.

IT is an increasingly popular subject for UK BAME students; in 2015/16, 27.2% of first year higher education students were BAME. This is encouraging as nearly 140,000 new, skilled recruits are needed annually in technology, and 52% of digital businesses report a tech skills gap. Although the number of BAME students entering the tech sector is unknown, attracting this talent is crucial to Capgemini’s continued success.

19.1% of Capgemini’s workforce is BAME, but the organisation is struggling with the digital skills scarcity. Through its programme for schools and a refreshed recruitment process, the organisation aims to attract from a wider talent pool, reach disadvantaged communities and inspire BAME students to choose a tech career. This is part of the holistic Active Inclusion strategy, which has been ratified by the CR&S and Country Boards and reports to the HR Director and Chairman. Active Inclusion aims to foster digital and employability skills across lower socio-economic backgrounds, promote Capgemini as an employer of choice for school leavers, and ensure its junior talent offering and recruitment processes target and give opportunities to BAME students.

For 2016, Capgemini stepped up its school's programme to improve the quality and reach of interactions. The organisation partnered with “Apps for Good" to take advantage of their diverse audience (37% of their school are above average for BAME representation) and innovative approach to teaching digital skills. Capgemini’s Prince’s Trust Digital programme also funded six Achieve workshops for students struggling in mainstream education and six Get Started courses for young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

In 2011 Capgemini was the first organisation to create Degree Apprenticeships, increasing social mobility by providing a degree without the cost of university and giving young people a route into the industry. In partnership with Aston University, this initiative is now available to other employers, and this year Capgemini’s Degree Apprentices will be the first in the UK to graduate – with 50% on track for a first class degree.

In 2015/16, the organisation refreshed its approach, with board level sponsorship, through the following actions:

  • Refining target universities where student engagement is focused – out of six, only one is in the Russell Group (e.g. recently hosting a hackathon at University of East London)
  • Running unconscious bias and inclusion training for recruiters and hiring managers
  • Introducing strengths-based assessment to be more open to all candidates, based on job fit and future potential, rather than background and achievements
  • Ensuring visible BAME role models on recruitment collateral, such as two female apprentices (one BAME) being interviewed on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on tech apprenticeships
  • Running a competitive work experience programme, seeking applications from our partner schools
  • Setting graduates and apprentices a “Giving Back” objective, engaging with skills workshops with target universities and schools
  • Partnering with Bright Network (39% BAME membership) and Debut Careers (innovative careers app) to target students

After remaining static at just under 30% for several years, in 2016 Capgemini’s percentage of BAME graduate and apprentice hires leapt to 36%. The organisation found that face-to-face interaction provides a huge return on investment; in 2016, 20% of graduate and apprentice hires engaged with Capgemini through recruitment insight events or the school's programme. Over 100 team members regularly participate in the school's programme, and in 2016 Capgemini increased its reach from 40 to 50 schools, averaging 5,800 student interactions annually.

Since 2011, 100 apprentices have joined the organisation. Capgemini won Macro Employer of the Year at the 2016 National Apprenticeship Awards for the South East and was voted the Top IT & Technology Employer at the School Leavers Awards 2017.

Capgemini’s 2016 Women’s Business Network events deliberately profiled diverse role models, including Burberry’s Fumbi Chima and Unruly’s Sarah Wood. Students who joined these events gave overwhelmingly positive feedback – BAME schoolgirls called it ‘truly inspirational’ and wanted to ‘prosper in the IT field and question the stereotypes

2016 has shown that focussed engagement with schools, colleges and universities pays dividends in increasing BAME participation in the tech industry. Capgemini will now apply these learnings to its experienced hire process and embed them within its ongoing Active Inclusion strategy and regular reviews.