Equal Opportunities and Diversity - Is This Equality?
As a recent philosophy graduate in the midst of the credit crunch I am finding it impossible to get a job. A philosophy degree doesn’t lend itself to any particular job so for any graduate schemes I apply for I’m always going to be beaten by someone more qualified than me. But this isn’t what this is about; it was just a bit of background to show how I know what I want to rant about, and explain perhaps why I am so annoyed. In the last six months or so I have applied for hundreds and hundreds of jobs (completely unsuccessfully I might add) and lots of them send me applications to fill out, which is also quite annoying because it would be easier to just send out my CV.
When they send the applications though, most of them also send an Equal Opportunities and Diversity questionnaire to be filled out. It asks the sort of questions they aren’t allowed to ask in interviews and that would be classed as discrimination if they were asked in the main body of the application or in an interview; things like race/gender/sexuality/religion/whether you have any disabilities and birth date, which I think has recently become illegal to ask. How is it any different to ask these questions in a separate form than in the application itself? They ask these things in the name of fairness and equality but if they were being fair surely they wouldn’t ask at all.
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I am white, British, female, straight, non-religious and non-disabled but I have to wonder if I was black or Indian, gay, Buddhist, disabled would I be more likely to get a job? Because the only conclusion I can come to is that they want to appear to be promoting equality and fairness by employing ‘diverse’ people. Why else would they want to know all this BEFORE they employ you. I wrote a hub a while ago about feminism and positive discrimination; ranting about women in politics and Labour’s quota scheme, and thought I’d got it all out my system but here it is again potentially effecting my life. Several times I have been tempted to write random things on the form and see if it makes a difference to whether I get a job, or even an interview. What would/could they do if they found out I had lied?
I’ve been trying to justify employers’ decisions for these questionnaires and I just can’t come up with a reasonable explanation. Perhaps they don’t read the questionnaires until they hire you, but then why wouldn’t they just ask you to fill it out once they’d hired you. That would make more sense. I don’t know a lot about employment laws so I don’t know how companies are allowed to ask all the things in an ‘equality and diversity questionnaire’ that they are forbidden from asking in a regular application. If anyone knows why these are allowed and for what purpose then please please educate me!
In response to this rant ...
- Equal Opportunities....Welcome to the real world.
Aguasilver wrote this hub in response to my angry rant about job opprtunities. Answering some of the questions I asked about Equal Opportunities