It is a reasonable aspiration to want work that is fair - and for fair work to be available to everyone. Fair opportunity allows people to access and progress in work and employment and is a crucial dimension of fair work. Meeting legal obligations in terms of ensuring equal access to work and equal opportunities in work sets a minimum floor for fair work. This protects citizens, employees and workers in those groups subject to specific legal protections, such as women and people with disabilities. 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 individuals, opportunity that provides fair and equal access to work and to progressing in work improves their life chances and creates opportunities for social mobility. Irrelevant barriers to access and participation are removed, so that employers and employees can focus on merit, performance and contribution.
For organisations, fair opportunities lead to diverse organisations where all talents from all sections of the labour market are valued, developed and utilised. Organisations can benefit from the richness of talent and diversity of ideas that this creates. Organisations may also benefit from improved recruitment, retention and reputation.
For society, fair opportunities break down labour market and related inequality, reduces the costs of inefficient resource allocation and helps creates a more equitable, inclusive and cohesive society.
Fair opportunity can be supported in a variety of different ways: through recruitment and selection procedures, internship arrangements, training and development approaches and promotion and progression procedures and practices.