This blog will briefly cover discrimination in the workforce and how this could prevent or negatively impact an individual’s right to be employed. This can be read as an extension to another blog I have written ‘Declining Unemployment Rate – Too Good to be True’ otherwise it is a blog that is perfectly capable of being read on its own.
In the modern day, there are laws and regulations that employers must abide by when it comes to hiring employees in order to protect workers from being discriminated against in the workplace. They vary from country to country depending on where you are from. For example the United Kingdom (UK) government’s page states that the UK law can protect you from being made redundant, dismissed and whether you are recruited or not due to discriminatory factors (GOV.UK, 2018). Other forms of discrimination a British citizen would also be protected from under the law are: promotion; transfer opportunities; wage; benefits; and employment terms and conditions, with exceptions of discrimination in instances similar to ’employing only women in a health centre for Muslim women’ (GOV.UK, 2018). Despite all these laws to protect one from being unfairly treated in the workplace, discrimination still and will occur to happen unless we get rid of ridiculous biases and or/ stereotypes that prevent us from seeing someone’s potential to contribute and offer new skills to a workforce.
A frequently and largely discriminated against group are young people who can be often categorised with unskilled or more commonly known as low-skilled workers, another group that is largely discriminated against. In relation to employment, these groups are often seen as less desirable and have the worst performance and can and are usually discriminated against by being given poorer wages in comparison to their older and more experienced colleagues also doing the same work. Additionally, young and/or low-skilled workers are more likely to be subjected to a higher job insecurity and an increased job strain as opposed to their ‘better’ counterparts OECD, 2016). It is suggested that young people are discriminated against to such a high degree that in the 1990s when unemployment dropped significantly, young people still found difficulty in being employed and continued to be marginalised to the workforce (Fevre, 2011).
Women are another prominent group that faces heavy discrimination what with the large pay gap between men and women doing the same job roles as I’m sure you all know. When you pit a man and a woman against one another in a battle of intelligence, most people whether consciously or unconsciously will presume the man to be smarter. But whose fault is this? And can you be blamed for thinking that when it has been ingrained in our heads that men are the key thinkers, the breadwinners and the Einsteins of the world? Girls as young as six years old are not exempt from this way of thinking as a study suggests that young girls ‘can be led to believe men are inherently smarter and more talented than women’ (Fortune, 2017) in fact young and highly impressionable minds are where it all tends to begin.
Within the law, it can be clearly written that discrimination should not take place in the workforce and penalties should be enforced to ensure that any and unfair inequality is quashed. Not only should discrimination be eradicated from the labour force but outside of it too, there is no need and no room for unnecessary discrimination in society. If we could solve this problem then we would also effectively deal with workplace discrimination: killing two birds with one stone. I like it.
Fevre, R. (2011) ‘Still on the scrapheap? The meaning and characteristic of unemployment in prosperous welfare states’. Work, Employment & Society. 25(1), pp. 1-2.
Fortune (2017) Girls start believing men are smarter than women as early as 6 years old. Available at: http://fortune.com/2017/01/27/girls-believe-boys-smarter-young-age/ (Accessed: 14 December 2018).
GOV.UK (2018) Discrimination: your rights. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights/discrimination-at-work (Accessed: 14 December 2018).
OECD (2016) New data show importance of quality as well as quantity of jobs and how both evolved during crisis. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/employment/the-crisis-has-had-a-lasting-impact-on-job-quality-new-oecd-figures-show.htm (Accessed: 08 December 2018).