The Clear company, a diversity consultancy, has advised businesses to use technology to eliminate gender discrimination from their hiring process.
It comes after a survey by Debut, the graduate recruitment app, showed that more than 40 per cent of women faced inappropriate questioning during the hiring process.
The diversity and inclusion specialist has recommended that organisations incorporate technology where possible to assess and manage talent objectively, to reduce instances of unconscious bias.
It also said interviewers are unintentionally breaking the law by asking women personal questions about their relationship status or maternity plans, for example, and suggested that recruiters should undergo training to refresh their understanding of what is and is not appropriate.
Director of the Clear Company Kate Headley said: “UK law states that candidates cannot directly be asked about their health, love life, age or plans to have children during the recruitment process, yet this practice still occurs.
“The Debut survey revealed that 27 per cent of women had been asked about their relationship status – each of these interviewers were inadvertently breaking the law, potentially due to a simple misunderstanding as to what is and isn’t deemed acceptable.
“If this is allowed to continue, companies will be exposing themselves to extreme risks and could face legal action for inappropriate hiring practices.
“By incorporating the correct training of interviewers and the use of technology to manage assessment, it’s possible to remove much of this risk and improve the company’s employer brand.
“The examples cited in these reports – including one from Carol Vorderman whose physical attributes were quoted as a reason why she didn’t get a job – demonstrate that women are still facing severe discrimination in the hiring process.
“In my view, this simply shouldn’t still happen in today’s world where inclusion is cited as a key priority for businesses and employers alike.”
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