The myth of so-called “postcode discrimination” in employment has been busted after government research found no direct evidence of it occuring.
Anecdotal reports and previous research has suggested employers could be using applicants’ addresses as a shortcut to screen people from less desirable areas or housing estates.
But research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions of employers, employment agencies and Jobcentre Plus representatives found that, although statements made by some respondents suggested that postcode discrimination could potentially be occurring, there was no direct evidence of this.
The report supports the theory that individuals living in deprived areas face disadvantages in the labour market, additional to their own personal characteristics, but could not offer any more conclusive evidence of the contribution of address-based discrimination to unemployment in deprived areas.
“Screening of this sort is less likely to occur where recruitment and selection is in some way professionalised, for example by the involvement of HR professionals in some or all of the process,” the report stated.