Blanket approach to diversity won’t work

As a diversity gatekeeper, I wish to comment on your 21 September edition, which contained some stark contrasts.

The front page talked about HR putting its own house in order regarding equal pay. I agree wholeheartedly. Then, on page 31, an article with the headline ‘Recruitment revolution’ quotes an HR adviser for Woolworths as saying: “It’s good to know that every candidate has been screened and dealt with in exactly the same way.”

This supports the myth that the road to equal and fair treatment is to treat everyone in the same way. In reality, this approach serves to discriminate, albeit inadvertently, and is cited as a factor in the McPherson report’s description of ‘institutional racism’. And one of the Disability Discrimination Act’s requirements is to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to practices and procedures to overcome discrimination.

The move to a ‘one size fits all’ approach may be good for an organisation’s finances, but it serves to increase disadvantage unless significant efforts are made to create alternative options.

I’ll keep reading Personnel Today with interest!

Jane Goodwin

Equality and diversity adviser, Hampshire County Council

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