Monday, January 20, 2020

Tory plans will see job applicants asked about their social class

Employers to be encouraged to ask potential employees sensitive questions about their socio-economic background.

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Employers are to be encouraged to ask potential employees about where they fit in UK society and whether they see themselves as economically disadvantaged, under new plans that are likely to reignite concerns of a Tory class war.

Job applicants would face four multiple-choice questions under plans due to be rolled out in the civil service later this year, with questions including what school a worker or job applicant attended and whether they were in receipt of free school meals.

The Government claim the collected data will help to make workplaces for diverse and socially inclusive, but critics may argue the plans have ulterior motives and could see workers asked to divulge potentially sensitive information about their background.

The guidelines, ‘Measuring Socio-economic Background In Your Workforce: Recommended Measures For Use By Employers’, will also see workers asked: “Compared to people in general, would you describe yourself as coming from a lower socio-economic background?”.

Council housing dwarfed by London’s financial district. Photo: Oxfam.

The plans, which are outlined in a document published on the Government’s website, reportedly have little support among most employers but will still be trialed and potentially rolled-out to other employment sectors.

According do the document: “The data these measures will enable us to gather will be of crucial importance, helping us to measure the impact of our policies and actions to increase social diversity in the civil service and beyond.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said the guidelines were purely voluntary and will only effect around 5 per cent of employers from October 2018.

TUC has been approached for a comment.

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