Reading between the lines of a CV is hard, meaning recruiters find it difficult to get anything more than a superficial view of a candidate’s performance on paper alone. As a result, recruiters worry about overlooking high-potential applicants from less-privileged backgrounds who perhaps does not have the ‘polish’ of other applicants.

Can Contextual Recruitment help?

Amongst other things, Contextual Recruitment Systems (CRSs) look to provide recruiters with a view on a candidate’s socio-economic background. However, these measures typically rely on misleading criteria such as parental occupation, free school meals status, and self-declared class, all of which have major problems, as described in ‘Why your measure of socio-economic background is probably useless’.

‘4Cs’ of a good measure

A three-month research exercise PiC undertook in 2018 indicated that organisations are looking for a socio-economic background measure to fulfil four central requirements.

Specifically, that a socio-economic background measure fulfil the 4 Cs:

  • Be comparable between candidates
  • Cover as many candidates as possible
  • Be clear what it measures to everyone involved
  • Be compliant with relevant legislation

PiC’s measure fulfils the 4Cs

At PiC, we’ve developed an incisive and comprehensive way of ranking socio-economic background (SEB) which fulfils the 4 Cs organisations require. We call it SEB Rank and believe it’s the most accurate way to measure socio-economic background.

How does it work?

The measure compares the background of an individual against their peers the same age growing up to produce a percentile. In plain terms, if a candidate gets a SEB Rank of 80, it means they were more advantaged than 80% of their peers nationally, putting them in the top fifth of the population.

What is it made up of?

SEB Rank is a combination of two vital factors, determined by home postcode and school at age 16.

Factor 1 – Home area deprivation

The first factor looks at the deprivation of the area surrounding someone’s home – this is something that can be ascertained by examining employment, health, crime, income and housing statistics.

Data to make up this factor is gathered from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Office for National Statistics and other sources.

Factor 2 – School performance and area deprivation

The second factor look at two things:

  1. The performance of that candidate’s secondary school in terms of examination results at GCSE or equivalent
  2. The level of deprivation around the candidate’s school

Data to make up this factor is gathered from the Department for Education, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Office for National Statistics and other sources.

Combination and benefits

These factors are amalgamated using statical wizardry giving recruiters a rank which:

  • Is truly comparable between candidates
  • Covers as many candidates as possible
  • Is clear
  • Is compliant

That’s why we believe it’s the most accurate way to measure socio-economic background!

PS: If you like how SEB Rank ranks socio-economic background, you’ll probably value knowing learning about REP Rank. It ranks a candidate’s performance in their class at school.