As you may know from the cringey little paragraph on my ‘about’ page, I am currently searching for jobs in the marketing industry. Over the past month or so I have filled in endless amounts of applications. Some want the standard CV and cover letter, some ask their own quirky questions and some ask for ‘anything but a traditional cover letter’ (FYI they don’t want you to write a semi-sarcastic poem- they won’t even reply, never mind hire you). Even if you’re applying for unpaid work, they all have their different ways of making you jump through hoops to prove that you are worth hiring. But one thing they all have in common is the personal question section that comes at the end of the application. The so-called ‘inclusivity’ section. This usually consists of around five standard questions about Gender, Ethnicity, Sexual orientation, disability and religion; all of which I struggle to see the necessity of in a job application. Employers present these questions as a way of avoiding bias and creating diversity in their company, however surely the way to avoid bias is not to let ethnicity or religion or any of the other factors have any role in deciding whether someone is the best candidate for the job, and instead to decide solely on their skills, experience and qualifications.
Some employers take this one step further, advertising their job to a certain groups of people in an attempt to make them more diverse. As a result, there are jobs out there that I was not even eligible to apply for. For example, an application was only available for what they called BAME candidates: Black, Asian and ethnic minorities, again ruling out whole ethnic groups in an attempt to be more inclusive.
Similarly, in an application for a publishing graduate scheme I was disappointed to discover that I was unable to apply due to the fact that I was not from a low income background.
Although I understand the importance of helping those that need more assistance than others, and have always been in full support of schemes put in place to help those children who’s parents couldn’t give them the same opportunities as more fortunate others, this requirement is excluding those who may be financially struggling now but have not received support in the past. Additionally, I fail to see the need for such schemes at this stage in life. Unless you are part of the lucky minority living off a trust fund or the bank of Mum and Dad still, all graduates applying for these schemes are in the same position: broke and paying off student loans. Irrelevant of how much money their parents had whilst they were growing up, the majority of university graduates need a job and some form of income. Moreover, working class students are probably in a worse position than those from lower income families after university as they did not receive a grant for their study or maintenance fees, leaving them and there family in more debt.
Overall companies are making themselves more exclusive by trying to be more inclusive towards certain specific groups of people and to avoid looking discriminative. Ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability should not be deciding factors when hiring someone for a job, whether they’re the right candidate for the job should be the the decider. Employers need to stop treating people as different groups and start viewing them all as humans, irrelevant of their personal information.