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Gloucestershire Business News

Take steps to avoid hidden discrimination - Margaret Adewale, The HR Dept Gloucester

By Margaret Adewale, director, The HR Dept Gloucester 

There has been much talk in the press about discrimination in the workplace concerning sex, age, disability and race.

But there is another, less discussed area of discrimination employers should be wary of - the requirement for non-essential formal qualifications when applying for jobs, promotion and access to training.

Last January, PwC commissioned a survey of 32,517 members of the public ( Hopes and Fears 2021 report) across 19 countries, including the UK.

Respondents included workers, business owners, contract workers, students, unemployed people looking for work and those on furlough or who were temporarily laid off.

An alarming half of those employees surveyed said they faced discrimination at work which led to them missing out on career advancements or training.

The research highlighted training was frequently offered to employees who already had high level of skills and qualifications, but less to those who had high level of skills, but had school-leaver qualifications.

The Equality Act 2010 refers to equality at work with regards to areas such as training, development and promotion, but it does not go far enough to prevent this type of discrimination.

There are also disparities with recruitment and promotional opportunities where employers eliminate highly skilled and competent applicants purely on the basis they do not have a degree level qualification.

Very often it is not the employers' intention to discriminate, but their policies and/or procedures do.

Starting now, we advise:

  • Harness the difference in your employees to help them become more successful, more innovative and more skilled in their job.
  • Develop firm-wide career paths for those wanting to advance and provide training and opportunities for all to increase their knowledge and skills.
  • Adopt a relentless focus on ensuring disparities in access to upskilling opportunities are identified, broken down and removed.

While recognising there are qualifications essential with regard to professions such as doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, surveyors and architects, employers should rethink about non-essential qualifications.

Diversity increases performance and productivity, improves job satisfaction and employee well-being, and stimulates investment, enterprise and innovation.

Workplaces that provide meaningful and appropriate encouragement, opportunity and support for all their employees to use their skills effectively, thrive.

Great to hear that Elon Musk is recruiting for Tesla's artificial intelligence department and applicants do not need degrees to apply.

The HR Dept provides human resources advice and support for more than 6,500 small and medium-sized businesses across the UK and Ireland. To find out how The HR Dept Gloucester can help you, visit, email  or call 01452 405280.

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