Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Discuss applications to the clearing house (and to courses that are not in the clearing house system), screening assessments, interviews, reserve lists, places, etc. here
LolaSun
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:41 pm

Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by LolaSun » Tue May 07, 2019 7:54 pm

Can someone explain to me the skewness of these official data?
https://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/equalopp ... U7h1dVxjos

There seems to be some clear issues with recruiting a diverse trainee cohort here.

What are your thoughts?

Advertisement
Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit: pearsonclinical.co.uk/cpf
lakeland
Posts: 926
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by lakeland » Wed May 08, 2019 9:21 am

Someone more intelligent than me will be able to give a better explanation but I know it's been talked about a lot on here how psychology is predominantly white, young, and middle class. I don't know if anyone has been able to pinpoint why as a profession we are not able to attract a more diverse group of applicants (as from a quick glance of the data, it seems that the issues are largely at the application stage, with such small numbers applying). I think the BPS are doing things to try and attract a more diverse group of people to the profession, but I'm not sure of the details.

JB99
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:12 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by JB99 » Wed May 08, 2019 9:53 am

I looked at these demographics fairly recently and found them interesting. From your post, there's quite a lot to unpack. What are the issues that you feel exist?

What is defined as diversity, and what stage of the selection process are you looking at (accepted places or applicants, or both)?

Diversity at the point of application
In terms of diversity at the point of application, I'd generally say the applicant pool is diverse (or at least appropriately diverse) if the demographics approximately reflect the demographics of the UK general population. If we take ethnicity, which is one of the most salient means of categorization when we speak of diversity, black/black British make up 3% of the population (according to the 2011 census), and people of black ethnicity made up 4% of the applicant pool for 2018. Taking this example, I'd say that there is no issue with diversity at the point of application. In fact, people of white ethnicity were slightly underrepresented at the stage of application, with 81% of applicants being white, compared to the 87% of the general population. Gender has one of the highest magnitudes of discrepancies, with 82% of those that applied being female.

It should be noted that this is a fairly superficial way of looking at it. For a given demographic, there will be a multitude of subfactors. For example, what's the proportion of ethnic groups at the age range of 20-30 (i.e. the period when most apply to the doctorate)? Does that differ from the proportions amongst other age groups? However, I think it still tells us that things aren't disastrously out from where they should be, maybe with the exception of gender.

Diversity as a result of the selection process
Clearing house really helpfully allows us to compare applicants with accepted places. Here, we see some interesting effects. Nearly all other ethnic groups fare worse from the application process than white people. Proportionally, the number of black and asian people halves during the selection process. It would be interesting to ask why this might be. Similarly, men do not fare well in the selection process, with a 4% drop in proportion.

I think it is important not to jump to conclusions with interpreting discrepancies within both of the above categories. It can be very easy to point to any one demographic category as being unrepresented and declare that it is discrimination. Similar to the issue of the wage gap, I think it helps to look at the phenomenon as you would building a statistical model. There will be multivariate factors that predict group-level differences in interview performance and interest in applying to clinical psychology. This model has not been built (to my knowledge), and so the contribution of the varying factors is undetermined. It is, therefore, illogical to assume it is solely explained by any one factor that helps to confirm our underlying sociological beliefs (i.e. the presence of discrimination, or the absence/denial of it).

Taking this level of scrutiny away, I'd say the demographic index looks fairly healthy. Generally, minority groups are generally proportional to the UK population size. The fact that the success rate for black ethnicity is 6% compared to white ethnicity at 16% is a little alarming and should be investigated further. However, I really would be careful about jumping to extreme measures, such as positive discrimination, when we do not know anything about the source of this finding.

User avatar
Spatch
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise
Contact:

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by Spatch » Wed May 08, 2019 12:33 pm

This was an interesting discussion about it from a while back which is worth checking out:
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=1237

There is also this paper that looks at some of the issues at UCL:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ka ... rities.pdf

Intersting conclusions include:
The finding that the proportions applying were similar to those selected suggests no immediate evidence of a bias towards BME applicants. However, a more detailed survival analysis of 2003 applicants revealed that BME applicants were far more likely to be rejected at the earliest stage of the selection process due to a failure to meet the basic course entry criteria. This suggests that BME applicants overall may be less likely to access good careers guidance services or have less opportunity to seek advice from those inside the profession. This suggestion is further supported by the higher rates of 2.2 or 3rd class degrees and of Master’s degrees amongst this group, yet their lack of success in applying for clinical training. Alongside referee ratings, A-Level points emerged as independent predictors of success. Notably, BME applicants overall tended to have lower A-Level points than their wide counterparts. Shiner & Modood (2002) note that nationally BME students have lower average A-level scores which are partly accounted for by their tendency to study fewer subjects.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

LolaSun
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:41 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by LolaSun » Wed May 08, 2019 1:08 pm

Comparative percentages indicate that the older u get, the less likely u are selected. I am pretty sure multivariate analysis would confirm it.

Punkgirluk
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:01 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by Punkgirluk » Wed May 08, 2019 11:12 pm

This is really interesting, and all I can offer is my experience as a white female and *ahem older than most * applicant ( I also identify as LGBT but didn’t discuss this anywhere in my application as to me it wasn’t particularly relevant). I found that all the negativity and discouragement was way before application. Ever since I changed career I was told pretty much continuously that aiming for clinical was a pipe dream and it would never happen. Fortunately I had previously been in a career with similar odds and had (more than) made it so I had practice in going (metaphorically) “up yours- it’s what I want so you’re not going to
put me off”. But I had to do that and lots of biting my tongue and smiling sweetly for 3 years...By the time I got to application and interview I did really feel my diverse experience was valued and felt no issues at all (first time applicant, 2 interviews. 2 offers) - (although I did stick out considerably at one interviews- I just reminded myself that reflected applications but eventually decided to not accept that offer as couldn’t face feeling that different for 3 years!) I do wonder however whether other potential applicants might have listened to people telling them they couldn’t do it..

I think there are also significant practical issues. I was lucky in that previous career made me financially independent and by the time I changed career I no longer had caring responsibilities. That meant I could take an AP job with a 1 1/2 hour each way daily commute and apply to courses I thought would value my experience no matter where in the country. That’s not the same for everyone (or even most). My sense is that the inequality happens way before selection and that’s what the profession may need to look at...

I would however be very interested in other people’s thoughts and experiences?

User avatar
maven
Site Admin
Posts: 2162
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by maven » Thu May 09, 2019 2:35 am

LolaSun wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:08 pm
Comparative percentages indicate that the older u get, the less likely u are selected. I am pretty sure multivariate analysis would confirm it.
I don't know if such discrimination is allowed any more, but I've always heard that the bias against older applicants is because the older you get the less working life you have left to offer the NHS, for the same cost of training. But it also reflects the fact that the strongest candidates tend to get onto training quite quickly after graduating (see our polls about length of time after graduating and number of applications before getting a place), so the norm is for people in their mid and late twenties to be in the majority on courses, and any older candidate has to be mindful about whether they'd feel comfortable within that peer group. Many later life career changers choose counselling psychology training for this reason, and the reduced competition/additional flexibility.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

JB99
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:12 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by JB99 » Thu May 09, 2019 9:54 am

maven wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:35 am
LolaSun wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 1:08 pm
Comparative percentages indicate that the older u get, the less likely u are selected. I am pretty sure multivariate analysis would confirm it.
I don't know if such discrimination is allowed any more, but I've always heard that the bias against older applicants is because the older you get the less working life you have left to offer the NHS, for the same cost of training. But it also reflects the fact that the strongest candidates tend to get onto training quite quickly after graduating (see our polls about length of time after graduating and number of applications before getting a place), so the norm is for people in their mid and late twenties to be in the majority on courses, and any older candidate has to be mindful about whether they'd feel comfortable within that peer group. Many later life career changers choose counselling psychology training for this reason, and the reduced competition/additional flexibility.
I think it may also be due to the fact that older applicants may be, on average, less likely to be able to afford to take honorary or even paid AP posts, and so may experience more difficulty gaining enough relevant or patient-facing experience. Perhaps also there are a greater proportion of inappropriate applications from older demographics from people who want career changes and do not really understand what is involved? These are just presuppositions, but I wonder whether such factors may contribute.

lakeland
Posts: 926
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by lakeland » Thu May 09, 2019 10:16 am

I would agree with JB99 - age alone doesn't really tell us enough about a candidate to know why they may have not been successful at interview.

HWoody
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:14 am

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by HWoody » Thu May 09, 2019 2:50 pm

I am also an older applicant. I agree the barriers arise from not being able to take unpaid / low paid jobs to gain experience, and being less able to move around the country to get AP positions, before even applying.

Not being part of a university cohort where you can get advice from your university or your peers on what to do is also a barrier. It's also difficult to pursue something where you can spend years trying with no success - a younger person may be able to apply 5 or 6 times before eventual success but older people are unlikely to be able to do that, so probably drop out the process and choose another path.

On another thread I've discussed that it is more difficult for older applicants to move area, so they may only be able to realistically apply to 1-2 courses, which means their chances of success are then correspondingly lower.

Miriam I'm sure it's true that the bias still exists about older applicants not being worth training as the NHS gets less value for money.

But this may be counterbalanced with older applicants potentially bringing skills (e.g. from previous careers) into clinical psychology that it's less likely younger applicants / those who's whole career has been in clinical psychology would have. At least I hope so....!

User avatar
maven
Site Admin
Posts: 2162
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by maven » Fri May 10, 2019 10:06 pm

HWoody wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:50 pm
Not being part of a university cohort where you can get advice from your university or your peers on what to do is also a barrier. It's also difficult to pursue something where you can spend years trying with no success - a younger person may be able to apply 5 or 6 times before eventual success but older people are unlikely to be able to do that, so probably drop out the process and choose another path.
Some of the rest of your points may be valid, but these simply aren't. No universities I am aware of give good advice about getting onto clinical, and hardly anyone gets such advice from university peers. Likewise most people get onto training on their first or second attempt, and very few take more than 4 attempts, so this is just believing rumours that have no bearing on fact.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

HWoody
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:14 am

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by HWoody » Sat May 11, 2019 11:27 am

Some of the rest of your points may be valid, but these simply aren't. No universities I am aware of give good advice about getting onto clinical, and hardly anyone gets such advice from university peers. Likewise most people get onto training on their first or second attempt, and very few take more than 4 attempts, so this is just believing rumours that have no bearing on fact.
This may be true generally, but it doesn't reflect my own experience. My psychology BSc was well over a decade ago but am in the process of completing a mental health based MSc. Whilst at this university I've had good advice from academics I've had contact with (though perhaps the official careers advice channels at universities are poor for clinpsy, I don't know) and hope to secure some relevant work experience through the contacts I've made.

I'm sure a lot of undergraduates/graduates have secured their first work placement through their university, and many BSc programmes now offer a work placement as part of the course, which was rare in 'my day'. It is difficult to get that first 'foot in the door' when you know no one in the sector, your degree was years ago and the only experience you can show is in a completely different sector.

Of course any older applicant can do an MSc like I have but it's another cost/time barrier.

And yes whilst it is true that most applicants might get on after 1-2 attempts, from what I've seen (on this site at least) a lot of applicants actually only apply after a number of years experience, rather than the minimum 12 months, although again this may be another case of rumours that don't reflect the reality of most applicants.

JDan14
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:50 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by JDan14 » Sun May 12, 2019 9:17 pm

This a topic I’ve been quite close to over the past 12 months and have been working with part of a special interest group.

The clearing house data over the past several years correlates with a rise in % of under represented/minority group applications vs % acceptance. The general trend is basically gradual increases in applications for disability, LGBT, men, mature applicants correlating with increased/proportionate acceptances across those groups.

The ONLY group that show an increased application rate (above other minority groups) but correlate with increasingly lower acceptance rates are BAME groups. Religion also shows as a factor in the clearing house stats.

This is being discussed at a national level with course providers. There is no definitive answers as to why this happens (there have been considerations around pre training opportunity and so on) but nothing concrete as yet.

In an attempt to tackle the overwhelming under representation of BAME CP’s (given that BAME patients are over represented in secondary care services and therefore crucial that this issue is tackled) there are mentoring initiatives and specialist pre application seminars to help BAME applicants succeed at interview.

Anecdotal accounts suggest there has been some success this year so far, but time will tell once the data is released by the clearing house for this application season.

Twitter is a good source of conversations around this topic for anyone interested: @MinoritiesGroup

User avatar
maven
Site Admin
Posts: 2162
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by maven » Sun May 12, 2019 11:30 pm

HWoody wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 11:27 am
This may be true generally, but it doesn't reflect my own experience.
That right there is the difference between anecdote and evidence. Much better to base your beliefs and plans on the latter, but easy to be misled by the former.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

JB99
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:12 pm

Re: Issues with Diversity in Clin Psy Trainees Recruitment

Post by JB99 » Mon May 13, 2019 4:48 pm

JDan14 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 9:17 pm
This a topic I’ve been quite close to over the past 12 months and have been working with part of a special interest group.

The clearing house data over the past several years correlates with a rise in % of under represented/minority group applications vs % acceptance. The general trend is basically gradual increases in applications for disability, LGBT, men, mature applicants correlating with increased/proportionate acceptances across those groups.

The ONLY group that show an increased application rate (above other minority groups) but correlate with increasingly lower acceptance rates are BAME groups. Religion also shows as a factor in the clearing house stats.

This is being discussed at a national level with course providers. There is no definitive answers as to why this happens (there have been considerations around pre training opportunity and so on) but nothing concrete as yet.

In an attempt to tackle the overwhelming under representation of BAME CP’s (given that BAME patients are over represented in secondary care services and therefore crucial that this issue is tackled) there are mentoring initiatives and specialist pre application seminars to help BAME applicants succeed at interview.

Anecdotal accounts suggest there has been some success this year so far, but time will tell once the data is released by the clearing house for this application season.

Twitter is a good source of conversations around this topic for anyone interested: @MinoritiesGroup
Interesting post Dan, and your point about BAME being over represented in secondary care is a poignant one.

I suppose one way to investigate whether the biases lie within the interview process would be to audio record interviews, create transcripts, and get the selection tutors to rate them. You could then see whether there is an interaction between ethnicity and performance on transcript vs actual interview scores. If you found BAME people doing poorly in interview but comparatively well on transcripts, this could suggest bias against this group. Of course, transcripts will miss out non-verbals, which are probably a large aspect of scoring, so non-verbals would be a fairly hefty extraneous variable to get around (I guess you could collate written interview notes with transcripts to negate some of this).

I can't think of any other way to explore this problem in a valid way.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest