Employers could be leaving themselves open to discrimination payouts of
millions of pounds from jobseekers, according to new research published
Even though sex discrimination payouts have recently passed the £2m mark,
The Work Foundation research finds that a third of responding organisations are
failing to monitor the diversity of external job applicants.
This is a simple but important procedure that can spotlight areas of
discrimination, and save recruiters millions in tribunal claims, according to
Theo Blackwell, policy specialist at The Work Foundation.
The survey of almost 500 employers, shows they are also failing to monitor
the diversity of internal applicants – 38 per cent do not monitor at all, and
28 per cent do not know if their organisation monitors internal job applicants
for race, sex and age.
According to employment law, it is illegal for employers to discriminate
against applicants on the basis of sex, disability or race. It will soon become
illegal to discriminate on the grounds of age, sexual orientation and religion
or belief. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure the law isn’t being
broken. Monitoring is recommended as a way of identifying possible bias.
The Work Foundation report also highlights the tendency among many
organisations to encourage word-of-mouth job applicants. Just over a quarter
(27 per cent) of respondents say they have a policy of actively encouraging
staff to recommend friends and just under a quarter (22 per cent) do the same
with family members.
Advisory bodies such as the Commission for Racial Equality warn that
although this may be economical, it is likely to lead to a far smaller pool of
suitable applicants, and does not normally satisfy equal opportunities
"Employment law requirements are pushing diversity up the ladder of
workplace issues," said Blackwell.
By Ben Willmott
Key survey findings
How employers recruit staff:
– 85% advertise in the local press
– 75% recruitment agencies
– 68% national press
– 63% job centres
– 56% trade press
– 55% internet
– 11% the radio