Your shout: Equal opportunities and discrimination

Readers' views on the week's news

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Employers must change attitudes to recruitment

It was refreshing to read Ibukun Adebayo's opinion on equal opportunities in recruitment (Computer Weekly, 18 July).

Although many employers will deny it, racism, ageism, sexism and discrimination against people with disabilities, certain religious beliefs or sexual preferences, are all still very evident in the IT world.

Attitudes towards recruitment need to change urgently - not just to ensure a diverse workforce that represents modern Britain and not just to avoid skill shortages by embracing diversity, but also to make sure employers do not fall foul of the growing amount of legislation concerning equal opportunities.

Employers must be familiar with the forthcoming legislation on age discrimination (October 2006) and the next part of the Disability Discrimination Act (December 2006). Failure to comply with these laws may result in costly payouts and a damaged reputation.

As well as the development of close relationships with recruitment agencies to ensure they share company values on equal opportunities, employers could also consider using technology to ensure a fair recruitment process.

Some e-recruitment technologies enable recruiters to find the best match for the job based on skills and experience, while at the same time screening out irrelevant details such as name, sex and age.

This means the task of objectively sorting and ranking job applications is left to computers. It is then down to humans to make the final decision on whether or not to interview and hire someone.

This may require training in equal opportunities, which Adebayo suggests, to ensure those in charge of recruitment make decisions based purely on skill and are not swayed by age, nationality, religion, sex or disability.

Patrice Barbedette, Founder, Jobpartners

 

We need to address the source of discrimination

I read with interest Ibukun Adebayo's comments on discrimination in recruitment (Computer Weekly, 18 July). She raises some interesting points during her criticisms of recruiters, but like any business in supply and demand, we work to industry order and not to our own agenda.

On and off the record, recruiters are consistently asked indirectly (or sometimes very directly) to supply British national candidates, young people and those with a clear accent. A recruiter could start sending foreign nationals, older candidates and those without the "Queen's English" but they will not get any interview requests or placements or money.

It is attitudes like these that recruiters should try to change, but it is not accurate to suggest that recruiters are the source of this problem. Adebayo is blaming the easiest of targets rather than addressing the real issue at the heart of the IT industry.

It is patronising to suggest that "all recruiters should attend equal opportunities training" when we do not need the training. Equal opportunities is not a difficult concept to understand, even for the recruiters that she holds in such low regard.

I agree with her that racism in IT should be stamped out, but she should face the truth: racism is a blight on parts of the IT industry - not parts of the IT recruitment industry - and needs to be addressed by the buyer before it can filter back down to us

Name withheld by request

 

Inequality has grown as IT jobs market matures

Ibukun Adebayo has written a brilliant article and touched on a subject that so many people would rather turn a blind eye to (Computer Weekly, 18 July).

Racism is rife in the UK IT market. Early IT employees like myself got into the industry because the demand at the time outstripped the supply. However, lately there is some sort of balance and with it comes discrimination.

I work for a large non-UK owned IT firm that does not have a single black person in senior management - it cannot be because we are not that good.

Name withheld by request

 

Practice makes perfect in the search for good luck

In his opinion piece (Computer Weekly, 11 July) Mike McElwee attributes the quote "The more I practise, the luckier I get" to Seve Ballesteros. Could you let Mike know it was Gary Player that said it?

Mike McMahon, Getronics

Editor's note

It is a matter of "you pays your money and you takes your choice" on who said this first. We have seen it attributed to Player, Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Jerry Barber. And that's just the golfers!

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