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Study suggests recruitment agencies may be guilty of 'casual racial discrimination'

Recruitment agencies may be guilty of 'casual racial discrimination', according to a recent study carried out by Race for Opportunity, the race campaign arm of Business in the Community.

The charity claims that its research shows a pattern of discrimination against black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates who use recruitment agencies to find work. Race and recruitment: Exposing the barriers shows that over the past 12 months, just 29 per cent of those ethnic minority candidates surveyed were offered a job by a recruitment agency, against 44 per cent of white candidates. BAME candidates were also offered fewer interviews overall - just 57 per cent, against 73 per cent for white candidates.

Encouragingly, however, the study showed no such discrepancy for candidates who applied directly to employers without going through an agency, with 29 per cent of both BAME and white candidates finding a position through this route.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it's unlawful to discriminate against any job-seeker on grounds of race, colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origins. In some limited situations, it is permissible to require the job-holder to belong to a particular racial group, for example in the provision of personal welfare services, where those services can most effectively be provided by a person of a particular racial group because of cultural needs and sensitivities. However, such 'occupational requirements' need to be justified by employers in order to avoid being discriminatory.

Acas can visit your organisation to assist in addressing a range of issues related to racial equality and then work with you to develop practical solutions. Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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