Jobs of this nature are usually advertised by public sector organisations and departments as well as the Human Resource departments of large privately owned companies or multinationals. This is usually because of a number of reasons. Firstly these large corporations understand that diversity is important in a modern multicultural society and want to be seen as being proactive in their approach to promoting equality and diversity issues. Secondly because they are big organizations and employ hundreds or possibly thousands of people, there is a greater chance of there being cases of race discrimination between different ethnic workers. Thirdly they feel compelled to ensure they work within the guidelines of current and previous Race Relations Act’s that have been passed by parliament. Fourthly research and studies have repeatedly shown that a workforce that is in united and focused is much more productive than one that is riddled with suspicion and prejudice.
Alternatively it is rare for Small Medium Enterprises to have a dedicated employment equality and diversity officer working for them. This is possibly due to the costs of employing a dedicated person, and also the fact that in small companies managers or directors work closely with their employees, and because they are able to make decisions quickly they are able to resolve disputes and allegations very quickly.
Many people would describe a diverse workforce as one that reflected its local multiculturalism by having a combination of people from different ethnic groups, social groups and cultures all working together for the success of their employer.
As a equality practitioner you will typically be responsible for implementing diversity policy and strategy within your company and also in how your organisation deals with its customers. You must be able to offer practical advice and solutions to sensitive issues including disciplinary hearings, suspensions of staff, policy writing and explaining equality definition.
You will not just be helping minority employees but also white employees and people with disabilities or those who have a different sexual orientation. In effect you will be there to help all of your work colleagues from any background. You will also be there to combat age discrimination as well as gender discrimination.
You would be expected to make contact with community organizations and ethnic minority groups both locally and nationally to share experience and also to work together to develop strategies to combat prejudice.
You would also be expected to offer guidance and advice to your colleagues in the human resources department. On issues like recruitment and also equality and diversity jobs advertisements, as well as applications from job candidates. Breaking down stereotypes, helping workers to understand each other's cultures and traditions through training and workshops is also important. You should be knowledgeable on the current laws and legislation relating to discrimination, as well as on touchy subjects like affirmative action.
In most roles that deal with equality rights and diversity awareness you will have to regularly report to senior managers within your organization on any equality and diversity initiatives you have implemented. You might be asked to present equality impact assessment reports to them to illustrate progress on social cohesions within your company and also the impact of any race equality campaigns you have been running.
Useful resources to contact for further information:
Equality & Diversity Forum
207-221 Pentonville Road
London N1 9UZ
Telephone: 0207 843 1597