If you think job descriptions are just another routine part of the recruitment process, think again, because UK employers are now using them to prevent discrimination and avoid potential litigation.
While four in five (82 per cent) employers use job descriptions for some or all of their vacancies, more than one in five (21.2 per cent) organisations deliberately use job descriptions in recruitment and selection to prevent unfair discrimination and for defending cases when it is claimed to have occurred.
This figure rises to almost one in three (31.5 per cent) among public sector organisations.
The findings by IRS Employment Review are based on responses from 254 HR departments surveyed in February and March 2003.
IRS Employment Review researcher, Noelle Murphy said: “No longer is the job description just one element of the recruitment process; today, it is much more influential than many people may realise. The adoption of the EU’s equal treatment directive will mean that areas such as sexual orientation, religious belief, political views and age will soon be included in discrimination.
"HR practitioners need to ensure any criterion used in job descriptions or person specifications, which could be viewed as discriminatory against a protected group, is objectively justifiable.”
Other findings include:
· Public sector organisations are more likely to have job descriptions for every post - more than nine in 10 (96.2 per cent) use them for all positions in the organisation. Two in three (66.6 per cent) private sector service organisations use job descriptions for all posts, compared with under half (40.9 per cent) that do so in manufacturing and production organisations
· One in seven (13.6 per cent) considered that the culture of their organisation did not support the formality of job descriptions
· Sending out job descriptions to potential candidates is an effective way of adding a dimension of self-selection to the recruitment process
· Seven in 10 (69.8 per cen