IP Inclusive’s Careers in Ideas initiative organised this panel discussion and workshop on socio-economic diversity and recruitment. The event was held on 12th June 2019, at Marks & Clerk‘s new offices at 15 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BW. It was attended by both fee-earners and recruitment and HR professionals.
Through our new Careers in Ideas task force, we’ve been looking at ways to improve social mobility both at the gateway to, and within, the IP professions. This event explored best practices in outreach, recruitment and selection procedures to help erode the stereotypes and biases that still seem to limit our socio-economic diversity. It aimed both to raise awareness of the challenges faced by would-be IP professionals from less privileged backgrounds, and to generate ideas and guidance to address those challenges.
We began with a discussion between Julie Barrett of Purposive Step (business and career consulting for those in or related to intellectual property) and Liam Dorr of Reckitt Benckiser, who shared their own stories of their routes into the IP professions and the difficulties they had overcome. Audience members contributed their own thoughts on the effect of educational and social background when seeking a career in IP, including the lack of awareness of and information about those careers.
The second half of the event was a workshop, involving group discussions on ways to counter the difficulties highlighted by Julie and Liam. Sheila Wallace, a partner at Marks & Clerk, led the final plenary session in which the individual groups’ ideas were brought together. It was clear that outreach and awareness-raising, in both schools and universities, were felt to be every bit as important to the debate as the recruitment and selection procedures at the gateway to the IP professions.
We’ve collated these ideas into a set of guidelines for recruiters in the sector, which you can download here. You can also read a report of the event by Jay Janusz and Julie Barrett from the Careers in Ideas social mobility working group.
At the end of the workshop, our hosts kindly laid on drinks and nibbles, allowing people to continue with informal follow-on discussions on the topics raised.