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Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

What is an equal opportunities employer?

An equal opportunities employer is a company or business that is committed to hiring and treating all employees equally. This means that they will not discriminate against anyone based on their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

Defining an equal opportunities employer

An equal opportunities employer is a company that has hiring process policies in place that makes hiring conditions equal for all applicants and makes it easier for employees from minority groups to work to their full potential. This can mean:

  • Putting a diversity recruitment strategy in place to ensure the business employs minority groups at the same rate as other candidates.

  • Making reasonable adjustments to hiring or interviewing practices to accommodate autistic applicants. For example, you might adjust the allotted time for a case study/interview task.

  • Creating an open communication policy, or fostering an environment that is supportive of open feedback.

  • Supporting working mothers or other caregivers through flexible interview times and working hours.

  • Defining a strict policy of not discriminating against disabled staff or job applicants on any grounds (equality of opportunity).

What is the purpose of an equal opportunities employer?

The purpose of an equal opportunities employer is to provide equal opportunities to all employees. This includes providing a fair and supportive, safe, and healthy hiring process and working environment that encourages growth.

By doing this, a company can nurture a diverse workforce, ensure they’re hiring for culture add rather than culture fit, be sure that they’re abiding by anti-discrimination laws, and improve employer branding.

Who benefits from equal employment opportunities?

Both applicants and employers benefit in multiple ways from equal opportunities employment strategies. Below, are some ways both groups benefit.

For the applicant:

  • Applicants from diverse groups can benefit from a hiring process that takes their needs into consideration.

  • Equal employment opportunities allow employees to apply their skills and knowledge in the workplace. This means they can work on projects that they are interested in and tasks they are good at.

  • Employees will be able to find a better job that suits them. This allows them to improve their career prospects, which will make them more productive and satisfied at work.

For the employer:

  • Employers who hire people based on merit rather than gender or age are likely to have higher employee retention rates, meaning less budget needed for new hires, training, and recruitment. 

  • Hired applicants will feel like valued members of a team, which will improve overall morale, productivity, and employee experience within an organisation too.

  • Hiring a more diverse workforce with different experiences from different backgrounds isn’t just the right thing to do, living up to corporate social responsibility, but research has also shown there is a direct correlation between diversity and financial performance.

  • Better employer branding.

Equal employment opportunities in law

It’s worth noting that some countries have strict equal employment laws in place. For example, the UK protects minority groups from being discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010. Similarly, Germany established the Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, AGG (General Act on Equal Treatment) in 2006.

Therefore, it’s essential that you check the employment laws in your nation when hiring, to ensure compliance with any laws.

If you are in the process of creating your company’s equal employment opportunity stance, the following articles may help you with points you hadn’t considered before:

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