Norway wants “colour-blind” recruitment

Colour-blind handshake jobWelcome aboard the team handshake. Photo: Tumisu/Pixabay


The Norwegian state wants “colour-blind” recruitment

The Norwegian state wants to implement “colour-blind” recruitment practices. This press release is a brief on how it intends to achieve this.

“In the State, it is the qualifications, not the name, that will decide who gets the job. It is a goal for the Government that the public sector should mirror the population in Norway. To achieve that, we must keep a watchful eye on our own prejudices when we hire. The Norwegian Government, therefore, initiates a trial with anonymous applications in the public sector that will ensure a colour-blind recruitment practice,” Minister of Municipal Affairs, Monica Mæland (Conservatives), states.

The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation today issues a letter to all ministries and asks them to select one business area each for participation in the experiment. The project will start in the spring of 2019 and will be completed before Christmas, 2020.

“The experiment will document whether the use of anonymous applications will lead to more immigrants being called in for a job interview and being offered a position at a state employer,” Mæland continues.

The experiment is part of the integration promise. The purpose is to assess whether anonymous applications is a good tool to integrate more immigrants into the workplace.

The anonymisation applies until the interview

The applicant’s information is anonymised in the first screening of candidates who may be qualified for a position. All anonymised information is made available to the employer only after the first screening of candidates has been completed.

“Everyone is for an inclusive working life, but we cannot be satisfied with big words only. The Norwegian Government is embarking on a large-scale ground-breaking work that is to ensure that the state recruits even wider. The time has run out for those who believe that Olsen automatically comes before Hussein in the job search queue,” The Cabinet Minister explains.

All information about the candidates will always be available to others in the business (for example the HR department) – so that the rules on extended search list and public search list can be complied with.

The applicant’s name is digitally blurred

Previous attempts with anonymous applications have been achieved by manually blacking out names. That requires a lot of resources. This experiment will be carried out with digital blurring that will save the businesses from unnecessary administrative work.


The main challenge of integration is employment

The trial with anonymous applications in the public sector will contribute to learning and increased awareness of the process of hiring immigrants.

“We must dare to be open about the fact that unconscious discriminatory attitudes of the employer can affect recruitment processes, even in the state. There is nothing to indicate that the state is the dunce of the class, but we should have higher ambitions than that. The state as an employer should be characterised by being an inclusive employer, who sees the competence of the entire population,” Mæland concludes.


Letter: Trials with anonymous applications in the Norwegian state (pdf)

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1 Comment on "Norway wants “colour-blind” recruitment"

  1. Joakim Haugen | 10. April 2019 at 09:43 |

    The people who believe racism is the cause is in for a shock. Employers look at work experience and if you showed up in time for your job. So people who start to work at an early age paper route, gas station, housekeeping and so on will get the job as always because this shows they have character. Unfortunately, many young POC consider these jobs to be degrading and thus have no work experience which is the real reason they do not get the job

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