Work Foundation highlights price of failing to monitor jobseekers

UK
organisations could be leaving themselves open to discrimination payouts of
millions of pounds from jobseekers, according to The Work Foundation.

Despite
the fact that sex discrimination payouts have recently passed the £2m mark, a
Work Foundation survey finds that one third of organisations are failing to
monitor the diversity of external job applicants – a simple yet important
procedure that can spotlight areas of discrimination, and save recruiters
millions in tribunal claims.

The
Recruitment and Selection survey of almost 500 employers, shows that they are
also failing to monitor the diversity of internal applicants – 38 per cent do
not monitor at all, with a further 28 per cent not knowing if their
organisation monitors internal job applicants for race, sex and age.

According
to employment law, it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure they are
not discriminating against applicants on the basis of sex, disability or race.
Monitoring is recommended as a way of identifying possible bias.

The
Work Foundation report also highlights the tendency for 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 employees to
recommend friends and just under a quarter (22 per cent) do the same with
family members.

Advisory
bodies warn that although this may be economical, it is likely to lead to a
much smaller pool of suitable applicants and does not normally satisfy equal
opportunities requirements because it tends to perpetuate any imbalance in the
workforce. The Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities
Commission both warn against word-of-mouth recruitment where the workforce is
predominantly one sex or racial group.

And
despite skills shortages, few organisations target less obvious labour pools.
Thirty-three percent of firms target women returners, but very few firms aim
for applicants from among the over-50s, the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders,
people with long-term health issues or a history mental health problems, and
refugees.

Theo
Blackwell, policy specialist at The Work Foundation, says: “Business
opportunities as well as the requirements of employment law are pushing
diversity up the ladder of workplace issues. More practically, companies should
also recognise the benefits of widening their choice of job applicants, and the
business opportunities that recruiting from the widest possible pool of talent
can bring.”

Other
findings include:


The local press is the favourite way of attracting external applicants: 85 per
cent advertise in the local press, 75 per cent use recruitment agencies, 68 per
cent use the national press, 63 per cent job centres, 56 per cent the trade
press and 55 per cent the internet.


41 per cent of organisations advertise all vacancies internally first.


Almost half (47 per cent) of the organisations accepting word-of-mouth
recommendations do not monitor for race, sex or age


Organisations are more likely to monitor for race and sex than they are for age


34 per cent or companies target women-returners, 23 per cent target
job-sharers, 18 per cent mature, recently qualified graduates, 17 per cent
target the over-50s. Few encourage applications from ex-offenders (5 per cent),
people with long-term health problems (4 per cent) or refugees (3 per cent).


Few job ads give information about the employer’s ethical stance. Only 24 per
cent of companies include this.


Applicants are fairly likely to have their appearance and body language
assessed. Forty per cent of companies ask interviewers to assess appearance and
32 per cent ask interviewers to assess nerves.


Psychometric testing remains popular with 54 per cent of organisations.

By Quentin Reade

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