Labour pledges to drop ‘irrelevant’ academic requirements for Civil Service jobs

Posted On: 
20th November 2018

A Labour government would drop requirements for ‘irrelevant’ academic qualifications for people applying for jobs in the civil service, the party is set to announce.

Labour say the civil service is too elitist.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner will argue the move would help drive “snobbery” out of the recruitment process and create “genuine parity of esteem” for applicants.

The party says ditching requirements for educational qualifications, including degrees and A-levels, unless they are “genuinely relevant” to the role would improve diversity within Whitehall.

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Speaking to the Association of Colleges of Birmingham, Ms Rayner will call for a “deep-seated culture change” in the civil service.

“We will end the snobbery that underpins attitudes towards different types of qualification and end the assumption that academic qualifications should be a basic entry requirement for jobs in Whitehall, limiting them to where they are necessary,” she will say.

According to Labour, only 4% of those chosen for the civil service fast stream programme have parents who work in routine or manual jobs, compared to 80% for those with parents working in senior managerial, administrative or professional occupations.

The party also said that in 2017 not a single person of black Caribbean origin gained a place on the fast stream.

Ms Rayner will add: “Government itself will lead the way in setting a clear example to other employers that a person’s skills and experience is as valuable as any particular type of qualification.

“And we will ensure that those working at the heart of government become more representative of the country they serve.”

Ms Rayner, who left school aged 16 without any formal qualifications, will point to tech giants such as Apple, Google and IBM, who have all dropped academic requirements for jobs unless they are role specific.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “There are already many ways people can join the Civil Service without a degree and many frontline roles do not require this level of qualification.

“Central to our ambition of becoming the most inclusive employer in the UK by 2020, apprenticeships are another route into the Civil Service.

“Not only do they support our commitment to building a broader set of skills in the Civil Service but they allow us to offer more varied careers that will help us retain and attract the best talent.”