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Career Planning Guide

Career Planning Guide

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity

Jobseekers and employees are protected from discrimination by The Equality Act 2010 on the basis of certain characteristics such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

We understand that you may have concerns or queries around these areas and more when career planning and job seeking, so in this section we have pulled together information and advice on common equality and diversity issues you may face, sources of support and positive employers and programs they offer.

Most employers have equality and diversity policies and are positive about recruiting and retaining a diverse work force. When researching employers, there are a few things you can do to see how open an employer might be to recruiting a diverse workforce:

  • Check to see if the job advert states they are an equal opportunities employer
  • Log in to their website and look to see if they have an equal opportunities policy
  • Do they offer application forms in different formats or mention adjustments for applicants, with disabilities, on their website or in the job advert?
  • Look out for employers who are signed up to certain schemes such as the Disability Confident employer scheme, the Business Disability Forum and Mindful Employer’s Charter. Just because employers are not signed up to these schemes however does not necessarily mean they are not positive in supporting diversity in the workplace.
  • Look out for the disability confident symbol to show they encourage applications from disabled people
  • Some employers run insight events or work experience schemes aimed at under-represented groups in the profession.
  • Relevant professional bodies may also run initiatives attempting to make access fairer across the sectors they represent.

Employers may also have their own Diversity groups within the organisation which they may advertise on their websites.

Finding an inclusive employer

Recruitment Agencies

The following links will take you to inclusive recruitment agencies for all protected characteristics:

It is worth being aware of the legislation that employers face when recruiting to roles and the impact on Equality & Diversity:

  • Protected characteristics– There are 8 protected characteristics: race, gender, religion, age, sexuality, disability, marriage/civil partnership status and pregnancy/maternity (Equality Act 2010)
  • Positive Action is defined as measures employers can take to address any imbalance of opportunity and or reduce disadvantage that those with a protected characteristic could face. In order to demonstrate the need for positive action the employer must have at least twelve months’ worth of data indicating that particular groups of people are under-represented in a particular area of work. Positive action can be used to encourage particular groups to apply, or to help people with particular protected characteristics to perform to the best of their ability e.g. positive action statements in recruitment adverts.
  • Positive discrimination is illegalDiscrimination occurs when a candidate is given preferential treatment because of a protected characteristic, or is employed specifically because of a protected characteristic, rather than because they are the most qualified or equally qualified for a role.
  • Occupational requirement. There are certain instances when an employer can specify particular characteristics for a role, if the role needs to be done by a person with that particular characteristic. For example, it would be legal and appropriate to specify that only women can apply for a role in a women’s refuge. This type of occupational requirement is permitted only if the employer can demonstrate:

1. Robust and demonstrable link between the requirement and the job

2. Good business case or aim for holding the specific requirement

3. Holding the requirement is proportionate (i.e. appropriate and  necessary)

Don’t be afraid to ask for reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process if you require any additional support. It is always worth letting an employer know in advance of any adjustments you may require so they can have time to accommodate your needs. Don’t wait until you have failed a stage of the recruitment process to let them know about any extra support you may need, let them know in advance so they can make any reasonable adjustments.

  • Application Forms – Employers can make a number of adjustments such as offering the form in large print, electronically or as an audio file on request. Some forms will ask if you require any specific adjustments during the recruitment process.

Part of the application form often includes an equality and diversity section which will ask you about personal information such as your ethnicity, gender, faith and/ or sexuality. This form is separate to the rest of your application so is not seen by those making the hiring decisions and therefore does not have an impact on the rest of your application. The information collected is then used to analyse how diverse the applicant pool was and review any potential changes that could be made to improve the recruitment process.

  • Psychometric tests – You may be asked to undertake these as part of the recruitment process. They are often undertaken online or sometimes in paper based format during an assessment centre. Employers should be able to make any reasonable adjustments such as extra time, accessible print options, scribe or testing individually rather in a large group.
  • Assessment centres – these include a number of tasks such as interviews, psychometric tests, presentations and group exercises, that assess the skills required for the job. It is worth speaking to a member of the  recruitment team in person to discuss your needs as soon as you receive an invitation to an assessment centre.

Disclosing a Disability

Many people worry about disclosing personal information to potential employers for fear of how this will be perceived.

It is your choice whether you should tell an employer that you have a disability, mental health condition, dyslexia, dyspraxia or another neurological or longer term health condition. You must use your own judgement as the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t explicitly say that you have to disclose a disability.

What an employer can ask:

You may be asked whether you have a health condition or disability early on in the recruitment process.

The Equality Act 2010 supports the rights of people with disabilities by giving greater legal protection against discrimination. It emphasises the legal duty on education providers and employers to make reasonable adjustments.

Benefits of disclosing:

  • Disclosing can ensure you receive appropriate “reasonable adjustments” in the selection process
  • It gives you the opportunity to highlight additional strengths
  • You may be able to access additional funding to support you with equipment
  • Allows you to explain any possible gaps in academic study
  • Enables you to put academic results achieved into context if required

Potential consequences of not disclosing:

  • You could lack the adjustments / support you need and miss out on their dream job.
  • Making a late request for adjustments could delay the recruitment process.
  • If you needs adjustments to fulfil the role you have been recruited to do and not asked for these in advance, you may not be able to perform the role you were recruited to do.

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