Discrimination in job advertisements

Discrimination in job advertisements

It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on any of the protected characteristics however discrimination in job advertisements still happens because it’s very hard to prove whether discrimination is influencing the people hiring’s decisions.

Interestingly, Global Women in PR  conducted some research that showed 62% of PR agency boards are dominated by men. We also found this article  from Disability news service which stated that ‘one UK PR company with more than 300 employees has admitted that it does not have a single disabled member of staff’. This is interesting to us because we want agency boards to be full of a variety of people with different perspectives and skills. Agency boards that always stay the same are going to be more likely to challenge change and difference.

We shouldn’t be discriminating in our job advertisements a) because it is illegal, b) because it doesn’t create a job environment anyone would want to work in anyway and c) because it just limits our agencies! A variety of people brings a variety of amazing skills. Check out one of our WIA articles here all about promoting inclusivity in the workplace and how more diverse companies are likely to outperform less diverse competitors.

Discrimination in job advertisements

Do how can we make sure we don’t discriminate in job advertisements?

We have to make the effort to use language appropriately. For example, some industries that are looking for someone who can do a highly physical job cannot say they need someone who is “physically fit” or “energetic” but rather that they “need someone who can keep up with the physical requirements of” the specific tasks they will undertake. 

To ensure we are inclusive, desirable to work with and not including discrimination in job advertistements, with we need to use appropriate language that is:

  • Relatable to everyone 
  • Non gender specific
  • Not filled with jargon, straightforward and to the point

The agency world is known for loving a bit of jargon and who has the bandwidth to take this offline, book in a call and get on the same page anyway! Ugh! But when it comes to agency job advertisements it’s important to keep it simple. Asking for a ‘digital ninja’ or a ‘marketing superhero’ is indirectly discriminatory and are proven to narrow the pool of applicants. Instead focus on skill, expertise and culture.  

For more specific help with using the correct language, here’s a great resource we found!

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Beth Hellowell
Founder of Women in Agencies and co-founder of Signify Digital. Mother, social media scroller and frequent pasta eater.