Civil Service must do more to end ‘discriminatory’ advertising

More training is needed to help civil service HR functions end ‘discriminatory’ job advertising practices which are fuelling the gender pay gap, leading industry figures claim.

A recent report by campaigning charity Working Families revealed 71% of central government jobs are advertised as full-time only, leading to concerns the civil service is failing in its duty to provide equal opportunities to men and women by not offering enough part-time positions.

The report, We need to talk about hours. Job advertising in the civil service, revealed many HR functions within the civil service advertise vacancies as full-time without first considering whether the role could also be done by part-timers or as a job share.

The claims come just days after the government published its long-awaited Equality Bill outlining measures to reduce the gender pay gap.

Francesca Okosi, director of support operations at East Thames Housing Association and former HR director at Defra, told Personnel Today flexible working was not high on the civil service’s agenda and more training is needed to encourage flexible recruitment approaches.

She said: “I think there should be more training for HR in terms of organisational development.

“In my own department there was a sense that unless the person was there full-time, the job won’t get done. Unless you can find a way of showing managers that what they need can be done differently, they stick to what they are comfortable with. HR with strong organisational development skills can break this model.”

Pat Campbell, head of equality at civil service union PCS, echoed Okosi’s calls, saying the Working Families report “highlighted a training need” to help central government reflect its own policies.

The report’s author, Laura Dewar, added functions must think about what skills are needed rather than the desired hours and grade of the person.

A cabinet office spokeswoman said: “Over a quarter of civil service jobs are specifically advertised as available to part-time staff or as a job share, but we recognise there is more we can do to make it easier for individuals with flexible working patterns to take up jobs.

“We are already taking steps to address this, such as developing a job share notice board which will be shortly launched on the civil service website to help staff find a job share partner.”

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