By Sonia Srivastava, DECA Business Director
Yesterday as I was scrolling through my LinkedIn and I saw a Guardian newspaper article from last year: “Minority ethnic Britons face ‘shocking’ job discrimination”. My immediate thought was shocking for whom? Certainly not for me, who also intersects as a single parent to a half-Polish child, or to most minorities I know. The article went on to say that “applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds had to send 80% more applications to get a positive response from an employer than a white person of British origin”.
So far, unsurprising. Nor was I shocked to read this has remained unchanged since a study in 1969. It has been conditioned in me from as far back as I remember that I had to work twice as hard, for half the gain as a minority immigrant woman of colour. And more so, to be grateful for the ‘opportunity’.
This has been conditioned into people by people before them, and before them and before them – you get the gist. I remember a couple of years ago, a recruiter told me bluntly yet kindly, not to include my name or age on my CV. This, he said, would give me ‘best’ chance of getting ‘selected’ at the initial hurdle.
The initial hurdle being either a software using block words to describe me as my ethnicity, age, sex etc or a human who cannot pronounce my name. The recruiter was a friend; it is what he knows, along with most minoritised individuals. My reaction to his well-meant advice was resignation to the realities of UK job hunting for people who look and sound like me. But recently my reaction has changed, in no small part due to starting a job at DECA.
For the first time in my career span of 12 years my identity is celebrated. Not just by people who are exactly like me but by people who are similar to me by their difference to the ‘mainstream’. Those who understand what it means to be othered. We at DECA openly discuss, debate and exchange ideas that are mostly not even murmured in other companies. We then empower businesses to speak louder about diversity in-house and outwardly, understand it, celebrate it and yes, seek the financial dividend from it as well.
Back to my original point though, if you are job hunting and think you have the skills for a job with us or our sister company Brand Advance, do please apply even if you are white. We won’t hold it against you.