Seen these icons?

If we have events, jobs or news that are relevant to the page topic, you can access them by clicking on icons next to the print button.

Equality & Employment | The Careers Service Equality & Employment – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo
The Equality Act

The Equality Act (2010) protects you against discrimination based on certain characteristics, including age, gender, disability, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or beliefs, and sexual orientation.

It is not unlawful for an employer to collect information on race, ethnicity and other protected characteristics when recruiting new staff. Many organisations choose to do so in order to monitor the effectiveness of their equal opportunities policy. However, you don’t have to give this information if you don’t want to. Employers are under a duty not to treat you differently because of your age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, or marriage.

See the Equality Act website for further information on your rights, what areas are covered by the act and what action you can take if you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against.

Disability

To tell or not to tell – if, when and how

A frequently-asked question in the Careers Service is whether to tell a prospective employer about a disability or a health condition.  This is often called ‘disclosure’ or being ‘open’ about your specific circumstances.

Many students fear that if they tell a recruiter about a disability or health condition (or having taken time-out of studies due to that health condition), they may get pre-judged – and that the information may eclipse their abilities.

Making a decision to disclose a disability or not is a personal choice, and there are various points in the application and selection process that you may choose to mention your disability or health condition. Hence, the if, when and how to tell a recruiter.

Reasons you may wish to disclose

  • Employment is covered by The Equality Act (2010): Disability. The Act states that is it against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability and covers a broad range of areas including application forms, interview arrangements, aptitude tests and pay.
  • Many employers are keen to employ disabled people. Look out for the ‘ Disability Confident‘ employer symbol on job advertisements, awarded by the JobCentre Plus. This means the employer has made some commitment to employing disabled people, such as guaranteeing a job interview for disabled applicants if they meet the minimum job criteria. This scheme has replaced the ‘two ticks guaranteed interview scheme’  and has different levels that employers can apply for. See the Government website for more information.
  • You are able to describe your disability in a positive way; you will be able to take a relevant opportunity to describe your disability positively, for example when talking about overcoming a particular challenge.
  • If you disclose, employers can get help and advice on adaptations to the workplace for a disabled applicant or employee from the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at the JobCentre Plus. Funding is also available through such programmes as the Access to Work Scheme.
  • You may feel the need to explain aspects of your CV, such as a gap in your education or lower exam grades than your peers – if these are a consequence of how you have had to manage your disability/health condition. These are mitigating circumstances.

Reasons you may wish not to disclose:

  • You may feel that your disability may have little or no impact on your ability to do the job.
  • You may feel that it will give the employer the chance to label you by your disability, and thus not recognise your abilities.

Alongside disclosing a disability, consideration needs to be given as to at what point in the application process to do so: on the application form/CV, at interview, before an assessment centre, when a job offer is made or when employed. Adjustments may be helpful to a disabled applicant at any of these stages. If the employer does not know that you have a disability, then they are not able to make adjustments that may assist you.

Getting advice

It is a good idea to think through the reasons  for and against disclosing from your perspective before making a decision. There are a number of useful resources that you can access, such as Great with Disability and AGCAS Diversity Matters that  may help you, but having the opportunity to talk your circumstances through with a Careers Adviser can help you to decide what is ‘right for you’. Book one of our Health/Disability careers discussions through CareerConnect These appointments can be arranged to be held via Skype, phone or in your college, depending on your access needs.

You may also want to come to one of our termly sessions on “The If, How and When of Disclosure” or the pre-entry sessions held before Careers Fairs titled ‘Engaging with Recruiters as  a Disabled Student’. These sessions are an opportunity to find out how you can assess how disability friendly or aware a recruiter actually is to help you decide whether you want to apply to them. There will also be opportunity to access a number of Careers Fairs before the main start time of the Fair. See CareerConnect for dates.

Further sources of advice and resources

A  number of independent organisations and charities exist to help people with a disability access the right job for them. Some notable ones include:

  • AGCAS diversity matters series – Specialist advice from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services on key diversity issues including gender, race and disability. Use this resource to identify diversity positive employers, understand disclosure and get an understanding of your rights.
  • MyPlus Students Club–  website for students with disabilities or long-term health conditions. It provides these students with information  to prepare for graduate job applications and the recruitment process.
  • EmployAbility – Advice for disabled people on careers, employment and legislation. Links to relevant sources for advice and support.
  • Disability Rights UK – Aims to strengthen the voice of disabled people and provides a huge amount of practical information on accessing resources.
  • The Equality & Human Rights Commission – Have a statutory remit to protect, enforce and promote equality. Their website contains lots of advice and guidance.
  • Association of Disabled Professionals – For professionals, entrepreneurs, students and the self-employed. Can be accessed via audio/no graphics/large text versions.
  • Disabled Entrepreneurs – Aims to inspire and support disabled people to become successful entrepreneurs.
Sexual Orientation, Transgender and Transsexual

The law and trans employment rights: In England, Scotland and Wales, the Equality Act 2010 makes unlawful any direct or indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation due to gender reassignment. (See ‘The Equality Act 2010).

Do you need to disclose that you are trans at work or during the recruitment? No, there isn’t a legal obligation and you do not have to disclose your gender identity to be protected by the Equality Act 2010. However,you may wish

the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and other organisations recommend that you

Do you need to disclose that you are trans at work or during the recruitment? No, there isn’t a legal obligation and you do not have to disclose your gender identity to be protected by the Equality Act 2010. However, you may wish to discuss your gender identity, particularly if you plan to transition with your  employer so that they can support you,   but it remains a personal choice.

Many companies have comprehensive policies which detail their commitment to equality. Larger employers often have LGBT+ staff groups, such as our own here at Oxford University, and many have LGBT+ recruitment events to encourage applications. These are likely to be advertised via CareerConnect and  the University of Oxford  LGBTQ+ Society

When seeking out   LGBT+ positive employers are, refer to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index. Stonewall has long been a champion for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people and compiles the Workplace Equality Index, which scores employers according to ‘their progress on lesbian, gay, bi and trans inclusion in the workplace’ (note: not all employers are listed). They also encourage Stonewall Diversity Champion programme

It is up to you how much you choose to say about your personal life on your CV or in an interview, so you might like to consider the advantages of detailing your responsibilities as, say, Treasurer of the LGBTQ+ Society, against any possible disadvantages.

Remember that the legal situation may be different in other countries, and so research legislation in the country that you wish to work in. You may wish to discuss your particular situation with a careers adviser.

Politics and faith

There is no problem with having strongly-held political or religious views as long as they don’t hinder your ability to do the job.

Some people worry about referencing interests in their applications which they perceive might ‘put employers off’. Extreme political or religious views can fall into that category. Think carefully about how you might phrase such interests, and certainly avoid any suggestion that your views might make you a difficult person with whom to work. The skills you have gained in a position of responsibility in a religious or political student society may be more important to an employer than any disagreement with your personal views.

Obviously though, your views may be an asset to certain organisations. As a Liberal Democrat, your application to work as a Research Assistant for a Lib Dem MP would undoubtedly be strengthened by your politics, and applications to a religious charity might be aided if you practised that religion.

This information was last updated on 01 November 2018.
Loading... Please wait
Recent blogs about Equality & Employment

Connecting students with disabilities/health conditions with recruiters at the Finance Fair

Posted on behalf of Annie Dutton. Blogged by Annie Dutton on 11/10/2018.

Interested in applying for internships or graduate opportunities in the Finance sector and want to know whether you should or shouldn’t tell a potential recruiter about your particular needs or understand how they may view your application? If yes, then please do come along to the bespoke session pre-Finance Fair session titled  ‘Engaging with organisations as a Disabled Student’ at 13.30pm on Tuesday, 16th October.

This session is  for any student who identifies themselves as having a disability, specific learning difficulty, or any mental or physical health condition, which they feel may impact on how recruiters or educational providers view them. At this session you’ll learn how to assess how disability-friendly an organisation is, how your circumstances may affect working with them, and how sharing (or not sharing) your circumstances may affect the recruitment process.

There will be lots of opportunity for you to ask questions in this confidential setting.  It may be of particular interest to you if you have had to ‘suspend their studies’ at some point, owing to health reasons, and want to know how your application may be viewed. It is open to all students whatever year of study.

If you attend this session you’ll also be able to access the fair before the official start time and meet with recruiters before it gets busy. Recruiters attending the fairs are aware that there will be some students keen to talk with them about their circumstances prior to the start of the fair away from the crowds.

If you are someone who meets the criteria for taking part, please do book your place on CareerConnect, or contact Careers Service Reception for more information on reception@careers.ox.ac.uk or 01865 274646.

Booking is essential. If you are aware of any particular access needs that you may have, please do  contact Careers Service Reception on 01865 274646 or email reception@careers.ox.ac.uk so that we can discuss what adjustments can be put in place, to ensure that you are able to access the Fair.  Read more on the Town Hall venue.

Connecting students with disabilities/health conditions with recruiters at our Careers Fairs

Blogged by Annie Dutton on 04/10/2018.

The Careers Service is running a number of bespoke sessions for students with disabilities or health conditions titled ‘Engaging with organisations as a Disabled Student’  before most of our Careers Fairs running in Michaelmas Term. These sessions are for any student who identifies themselves as having a disability, specific learning difficulty, or any mental or physical health condition, which they feel may impact on how recruiters or educational providers view them. At these sessions you’ll learn how to assess how disability-friendly an organisation is, how your circumstances may affect working with them, and how sharing (or not sharing) your circumstances may affect the recruitment process.

There will be lots of opportunity for you to ask questions in this confidential setting.  It may be of particular interest to you if you have had to ‘suspend their studies’ at some point, owing to health reasons, and want to know how your application may be viewed. It is open to all students whatever year of study.

If you attend this workshop you’ll also be able to access the fairs before the official start time and meet with recruiters before it gets busy. Recruiters attending the fairs are aware that there will be some students keen to talk with them about their circumstances prior to the start of the fair away from the crowds.

If you are someone who meets the criteria for taking part, please do book your place on CareerConnect, or contact Careers Service Reception for more information on reception@careers.ox.ac.uk or 01865 274646.

Booking is essential. If we can put adjustments in place for you to access any of our events, please contact the Careers Service Reception in advance to discuss your needs.

These sessions are being held at:

  • Oxford Careers Fair 13/10/18 @ 10:00 in Exam Schools, Oxford
  • Finance Fair 16/10/18 @ 13:30 in Oxford Town Hall
  • Careers in Computing 23/10/18 @ 14:00 in Maths Institute
  • Arts, Media & Marketing Fair 25/10/18 @ 13:30 in  Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
  • Internship Fair 31/10/18 @ 13:30 in Oxford Town Hall
  • Law Fair 3/11/18 @ 10:00 in Exam Schools, Oxford

Not to miss: Banking & Investment event on Wednesday 10th October

Blogged by Polly Metcalfe on 01/10/2018.

The Careers Service and Oxford Guild Society are co-hosting a must attend event for students thinking about a career in Investment Banking;

Banking Springweeks and Internships: Everything you need to know, Wednesday 10 October, 14:00 – 16:30pm, Exam Schools

At this event we will be joined by representatives from Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and HSBC who will tell you all about what Springweeks and Internships within Banking are, why you should consider taking part in one and how to make a competitive application. There will also be a fun exercise to give you a flavour of what a career in investment banking is all about.

We hope that by attending this event you will have a clear idea about what a career in banking can offer and everything you need to know about making a competitive application this season.

You do not need to book a place at this event, just come to exam schools at 14:00 on Wednesday 10th and you will be directed where to go. For more information see the event listings on CareerConnect.

My summer internship experience at the University of Pretoria

Blogged by Internship Office on 25/09/2018.

Sofia Garré, M.St. History of Art and Visual Culture, took part in an internship at the University of Pretoria as part of the Summer Internship Programme in 2018. She provided an insight about her experience below:

I have always been suspicious of ‘leadership.’ Leadership skills are required when entering jobs in almost all sectors, but – to me – wanting to be a ‘leader’ always entailed having somewhat dictatorial ambitions. It is only after spending eight weeks working at the University of Pretoria that I have finally overcome my suspicion of leadership. This happened because, by working with my direct supervisor and University executives, I gained a better understanding of what leadership is, and of the extent to which a leader can be nurturing and committed to the development of others. In fact, leadership is only one of many things that I feel I understand better since spending time in South Africa.

But let’s start from the beginning. I got to go to Pretoria through the University’s Summer Internship Programme. Seeing that I am a Master’s student graduating this year, I felt that the programme was not really meant for me: like many other finalists, I was at once hopeful and convinced that I would find a job straight after the end of Trinity. As luck would have it, my boss and mentor-to-be at the University of Pretoria, Mrs Carlien Nell, called on the very day I interviewed for (and failed to secure) a permanent position at a University in the North of England. In retrospect, I cannot begin to describe how lucky I feel not to have been selected for that job, nor how wrong I was thinking that the Summer Internship Programme might not be right for a finalist.

In fact, my two-months internship was imbued with experiences that prepared me to enter the workplace. My role consisted, at least on a basic level, of investigating work readiness programmes in South African and international Universities to assist the University of Pretoria in devising new employability strategies for its students. I have always been intrigued by the strategic and operational machine supporting Universities’ research and teaching, so I was excited to work jointly with the Department of Enrolment and Student Administration and with the Department of Institutional Planning. But the internship exceeded my expectations, both because I ended up getting involved in far more projects than I had originally expected to, and because the opportunities to learn were unexpectedly varied.

Not only did I learn about employability strategies, careers offices and the ‘future of work’: I also contributed to drafting an institution-wide survey to determine students’ access to quality food, took part in a very successful recruitment event organised for admitted students, the #ChooseUP event, and analysed the raw results of two separate questionnaires. Although this put my (largely non-numerical) skills to the test, I felt truly privileged to be involved in so many different projects. My boss (or should I say mentor?) genuinely contributed to making my Summer internship as transformative and informative as possible: she encouraged me to share my opinion during meetings with employers, colleagues and University executives, took me along on all her meetings (including a business trip to the Western Cape!), and provided me with technical support when it came to using software like Qualtrics or Excel. In fact, all my colleagues at the University of Pretoria went the extra mile to help me develop as a professional and to ensure that I had a special time while in South Africa.

And it was special indeed! I learnt about the troubled but fascinating history of South Africa whilst making discoveries about its society and its culture; but I also went on my first wine tasting in the beautiful hills of the Western Cape, cycled through the streets of Soweto, and saw an elephant, just metres away, for the first time. On top of these amazing experiences, I made important steps towards understanding what I want to do and achieve in my future. Indeed, when I began my studies in the History of Art, I could have hardly imagined that, in four-years’ time, I would feel as excited as I am currently feeling applying for business analysis or insights positions.

The truth is, my Summer internship at the University of Pretoria changed my outlook on my professional and, ultimately, personal life in ways that I could have never imagined. So long as similar opportunities remain available, I am certain that many more students will have the same luck.

 

Sofia Garré

M.St. History of Art and Visual Culture, 2018

Work Experience Programme for Disabled Students

Posted on behalf of Leonard Cheshire: Change 100. Blogged by Polly Metcalfe on 10/09/2018.

Change100 is a programme of paid summer work placements and mentoring.

It’s 100 days of work experience that can kickstart your career!

Change100 aims to remove barriers experienced by disabled people in the workplace, to allow them to achieve their potential. They partner with 90 organisations including Barclays, the BBC, Skanska & Lloyds who believe disability isn’t a barrier to a brilliant career.

It’s designed to support the career development of talented university students and recent graduates with any disability or long-term health condition, such as:

  • physical impairments
  • sensory impairments
  • mental health conditions
  • learning disabilities or difficulties e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD
  • other long-term health conditions e.g. diabetes, MS

Who is Change100 for?

To apply to Change100, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • have a disability or long-term health condition.
  • be in your penultimate or final year of an undergraduate or postgraduate university degree, or have graduated in 2016 or 2017. Any degree subject accepted.
  • have achieved or be predicted a 2:1 or 1st in your undergraduate degree.*
  • be eligible to work in the UK for the duration of a full-time summer work placement.

*If your academic performance has been affected by mitigating circumstances related to your disability or health condition, these will be taken into account. Please get in touch to discuss this.

Applications for Summer 2019 will open on Monday 24 September and close on Wednesday 16 January 2019.

For more information and to register your interest, click here.

This page displays current related blog posts. If none display, you can still stay up-to-date with our newsletter sent regularly to all Oxford students.

Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.