Fair Work Framework 2016
The Fair Work Dimensions - Opportunity
Opportunity allows people to access and progress in work and employment and is a crucial dimension of fair work. Meeting legal obligations by ensuring equal access to work and equal opportunities in work sets a minimum floor for fair work. This protects workers in those groups subject to specific legal protections on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age and disability.
Fair opportunity is, however, more than the chance to access work. Attitudes, behaviours, policies and practices within organisations - and, crucially, the outcomes these produce - signal and reflect the value placed on fair opportunity. Being proactive in ensuring opportunity for all can highlight current practice, signal areas of change and intervention, and produce a range of benefits for workers and employers.
Fair opportunity can be supported in a variety of different ways: through robust recruitment and selection procedures; paid internship arrangements equally open to all; training and development to support access to work for all; promotion and progression practices that are open and equally attainable by all, irrespective of personal and demographic characteristics.
What people told us
Individuals and organisations who communicated with the Convention highlighted barriers to opportunity prior to the workplace (for example, in access to apprenticeships and training that lead to employment); during recruitment and selection processes; and ongoing issues within the workplace (such as pay inequality and lack of progression opportunities), all of which can
particularly disadvantage certain groups of workers such as women, the young, black and minority ethnic workers, those with disabilities and those with low or no qualifications. Concerns were raised over how some groups found accessing the labour market much more challenging and were offered little support for their distinctive needs. Concerns were also raised about negative stereotyping of younger and older people in particular.
How to improve fair opportunity at work
- Investigate and interrogate the workforce profile in your organisation and sector, identify where any barriers to opportunity arise and address these creatively.
- Adopt a life stage approach that helps workers at all ages maximise their contribution.
- Engage with diverse and local communities.
- Use buddying and mentoring to support new workers and those with distinctive needs.
- Undertake equalities profiling in the provision of training and development activities and in career progression procedures and outcomes.
- Invest in and utilise the skills and knowledge of union equality, learning and other workplace representatives.
FAIR OPPORTUNITY IS, HOWEVER, MORE THAN THE CHANCE TO ACCESS WORK. ATTITUDES, BEHAVIOURS, POLICIES AND PRACTICES WITHIN ORGANISATIONS - AND, CRUCIALLY, THE
OUTCOMES THESE PRODUCE - SIGNAL AND REFLECT THE VALUE PLACED ON FAIR OPPORTUNITY.
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