Parliament appeals to Commons people

Even institutions as well known as Parliament need to boost awareness of their employer brand.

To that end, Parliament last week hosted a recruitment fair in a bid to attract a diverse pool of candidates truly representing the UK population to work at the heart of government. Recruiter editor DeeDee Doke investigated.

Advertised in the London Evening Standard, Metro and media outlets popular with BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic] consumers, the ticketed event was held last Thursday (24 February) in Parliament’s iconic Westminster Hall. Featuring a strapline of ‘Do you want to live like Commons People’, based on the classic Pulp Brit Pop hit Common People, the outreach drive was also championed by Parliament’s workplace equality networks such as ParliAble and ParliOUT.

The 2017 event built on the success of a smaller, ticketed recruitment fair held last year in nearby Portcullis House, which drew 245 people. This year, 400 tickets were available by advance application, and the event was a sell-out, Parliament sources said. Attendees could explore opportunities in professions ranging from catering, retail and security to strategic estates and digital services at the variety of stalls set out at the afternoon ‘fayre’. The 2017 event involved more teams, from across both Houses, than last year’s.

Too often the British public thinks of Parliament as a workplace for only MPs, said Jenny Radcliffe, talent manager in the Department of Human Resources and Change at the House of Commons. “We want people to think of us in a different way. Being a member [of Parliament] is not the only route to a career here,” she told Recruiter.

“We want people to know that this is a positive, inclusive working environment where everyone is welcome,” added Anne Foster, head of diversity & inclusion at the House of Commons.

There was no intention to fill a specific number of roles through the event, Foster said. Instead, the aim was to encourage attendees to consider Parliament as an employer, raise awareness of the variety of roles available and hopefully lead participants to subsequently apply for available roles. Talent management is on the rise as an emerging theme at Parliament, Radcliffe said, adding that that the recruitment fair was one facet of a newly structured approach to career pathways.

Currently, the House of Commons employs 2,500 people. The House of Lords has a workforce of 588.

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