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Phoenix Group

Recruitment Inclusivity Audit Case Study


Phoenix Group is the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business serving c.13 million customers and owns brands such as Standard Life, SunLife and ReAssure.


Phoenix has much to be proud of but wanted to challenge itself to ensure that diverse hiring is hardwired into every part of its recruitment processes. They partnered with Robert Walters Group to gain an understanding of where bias existed within their end-to-end recruitment and hiring process using a pioneering Inclusivity Audit delivered by RS. 


Robert Walters Group’s Recruitment Inclusivity Audit applied a proprietary academically informed, research and data-led framework to assess the end-to-end recruitment and hiring process, identifying and assessing bias.

This pioneering audit referenced research from over 60 peer-reviewed academic papers and studies, to ‘hold up a mirror’ and parse out aspects of Phoenix Group’s current hiring processes and career content that had the potential perpetuate bias. 

“Having joined Phoenix late in 2021 with a large TA transformation agenda, I was keen to understand what we did well in our talent attraction, acquisition, and onboarding processes and as part of that, how we fared from an inclusivity perspective. Post audit findings, we delivered quickly on some of the actions as part of Phase I in 2022 and we have a number of initiatives to roll out over the course of this year (Phase II). A highly insightful audit that I’m pleased we commissioned, and I’m excited to invite RS back at the end of 2023 to provide their verdict on our enhancements.” - Minesh Ghelani, Group Head of Talent Acquisition - Phoenix Group



The audit findings were played back to senior stakeholders and included 49 bespoke, actionable recommendations to minimise bias including: 

  • 8 recommendations to minimise Gender bias such as removing bias from interviews using an objective, robust approach and implementing a ‘salary history’ ban. 
  • 10 recommendations to enable Ethnicity inclusion including the rewording of how ethnicity data is captured as part of the application process and best practice.
  • 10 recommendations to ensure that Neurodiverse candidates and those with a disability are not disadvantaged in any part of the recruitment process including recommendations introducing an ‘adjustments concierge’ service.
  • 18 recommendations relating to LGBTQ+, Age and Faith including re-engineering hiring processes and updating careers content.


In the space of just one month, Phoenix Group has already actioned a number of these recommendations although this is just the start. Over the course of 2023, they intend to action several recommendations.

See the full case study.

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