Opening your doors to untapped talent

Post author image. Nicola Inge
Employment and Skills Director Nicola Inge discusses Business in the Community’s new Opening Doors inclusive recruitment campaign.
Nicola Inge looks at the camera

Dubbed the year of The Great Resignation, 2021 saw huge disruption in the UK labour market. With young people choosing to stay in education longer1, older workers looking to reduce their hours or retire early2, and many more actively searching for new jobs3, skill shortages are being felt in every sector4.

There are jobs, there are people who want those jobs, and yet we are struggling to connect the two. Why?

The disconnect between job seekers and employers

Though the number of job vacancies soared above 1 million last summer for the first time since records began5, there are many groups of job seekers who are struggling to find work. One in five (1.7million) economically inactive people state that they want to work but cannot secure a job6, and the number of people unemployed for over 12 months has increased by nearly 50% before the pandemic7.

So, there are jobs, there are people who want those jobs, and yet we are struggling to connect the two. Why?

A large part of the problem is the way that employers recruit. Many longstanding and widespread hiring practices disadvantage jobseekers with particular backgrounds or life experiences, such as people with convictions, ex-military personnel, care leavers, refugees, neurodiverse candidates, those from low socio-economic groups and disabled people. What all these groups have in common is that they are often thwarted by traditional recruitment practices, such as jargon-filled job descriptions, CV filtering and proxies for measuring skills.

Opening Doors: Business in the Community’s inclusive recruitment campaign

Business in the Community (BITC) believe that nobody should be shut out of work because of their background or life experience. This is why, as we celebrate 40 years of BITC, we are calling on businesses to be bolder on inclusive recruitment than ever before.

In February, we are launching our Opening Doors campaign, with an ambition to make 2 million jobs more inclusive by 2025. Working closely with a broad cross-section of charity partners, we have identified five keys to unlocking employment and are urging businesses to take action to make their jobs accessible to all. Join our Opening Doors virtual launch event to learn how these five keys can help you make your recruitment more inclusive.

Opening your door to disadvantaged jobseekers isn’t just the right thing to do from a responsible business point of view, it is also essential for future business prosperity, unlocking diverse talent to address your skills gaps.

Find out more about how BITC is developing a skilled and inclusive workforce.


  1. Institute for Employment Studies (2021) Labour Market Statistics, November 2021.
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.
  4. CBI (2021) A perfect storm: CBI insights on labour market shortages and what to do about it, September.
  5. Institute for Employment Studies (2021) Labour Market Statistics, August 2021.
  6. Richard Partington (2021) Missing workforce could ease Britain’s labour market crisis, The Guardian, 2 October.
  7. Statista (2021) Number of people unemployed in the United Kingdom from May 1992 to October 2021, by length of unemployment, December.