Smaller businesses ambivalent about Equal Opportunities

According to a survey published this month nearly two-thirds of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK feel that Equal Opportunities legislation has no impact on their business.

The research, which was carried out by Template Surveys on behalf of business consultancy SGS Consulting, found that identical proportions of SMEs (19 per cent) feel that Equal Opportunities legislation is beneficial and unfavourable.

These figures show a general ambivalence regarding laws designed to create equality in employment. The main legal reference points on Equal Opportunities are the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of sex, the 1970 Equal Pay Act which ensures that pay rates are the same for identical or similar jobs and the 1976 Race Relations Act which outlaws discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality and ethnic origin.

In March 2001 the government announced plans to appoint "fair pay champions" in an effort to combat the growing wage gap between men and women.

The survey relates to data collected from responses to an online questionnaire posted on the Internet and circulated in January 2002 by email to 5,000 Managing Directors of UK firms employing less than 500 staff.


Related Northern Ireland Business News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

17 February 2005
Knowledge gap holds back equal pay, says Acas
Low levels of understanding by employees and employers is one of the key factors holding back the establishment of equal pay, employment relations group, Acas, has claimed.
04 October 2017
New Hotel Employment Academy Launches In Belfast
Belfast City Council has teamed up with two of the city's newest hotels – the Hastings Grand Central Hotel Belfast and the Dalata Hotel Group’s Maldron Hotel Belfast City, both of which are due to open next year – to launch a new Hotel Employment Academy.
11 March 2002
Employers urged to address issue of equal pay
Employers have been urged to apply for a Castle Award, the new mark of excellence which will reward employers’ efforts in tackling equal pay issues.
02 January 2019
Belfast Employment Academies To Host 'Drop In' Events
On the hunt for a job? Get some extra help by visiting one of four 'drop in' centres for information on the Belfast Employment Academies which offer training for specific industries and aim to help up to 200 people find employment that suits them.
17 December 2003
Irish employers anticipate improvement in hiring activity
Irish employment confidence is showing signs of recovery, according to results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. For the quarter January to March 2003, the Net Employment Outlook is 3%, which is a modest recovery of 7% points from the previous quarter’s pessimistic outlook.