A national charity is using the first Employability Day today [15 April] to call for recruiters and employers to consider how confident they are at dealing with candidates who have a disfigurement.
As many as 1 in 111 people in the UK have a condition, mark or scar that affects their appearance. Changing Faces says that low expectations of people with disfigurements is denying talented people the opportunity of fair employment and to reach their full potential, and depriving the economy of real talent.
Henrietta Spalding, Head of Advocacy at Changing Faces, said:
Our research shows that as many as nine in every ten people have low expectations of people with disfigurements, and that impacts on them in school, university and in the workplace, as well as in their private and family lives.
Ms Spalding said that there is a serious legal aspect to the issue, as discriminating against someone with a ‘severe disfigurement’ when applying for work and whilst at work is an offence under the Equality Act 2010.
Lots of employers don’t realise that a severe disfigurement is classed as a disability, and many are discriminating – even though they often don’t realise it.
Changing Faces provides ‘implicit bias’ training to organisations to help them avoid discriminating against a candidate because of their appearance. Clients have included FTSE100 companies, major public bodies, and government agencies.
Lloret Kemplen, Training and Development Manager at the National Portrait Gallery, said:
At the National Portrait Gallery, we’re absolutely committed to equal treatment of all employees, job applicants and visitors. We offer equality training to all new recruits and refresher training to all staff every three years. Changing Faces have given us invaluable support by designing and delivering additional sessions on how unconscious bias can affect the recruitment process and other aspects of working life. The sessions have worked extremely well so far and we look forward to benefiting from their expertise for the remainder of this year.
David Gold, Chief Executive of Prospectus, said:
Changing Faces have helped us work with our staff to raise awareness of the impact of implicit bias during the recruitment process. At Prospectus, we strive to find the most talented people to work in some outstanding organisations. Any bias will lead to poor decisions and we truly value the training that we have received to ensure we are always improving our recruitment processes.
> Find our more about Changing Faces’ campaign for Face Equality at Work
> Read the Changing Faces guidance for employers and jobseekers
> Take the Implicit Attitudes Test to test your own bias (not mobile-friendly)