This emerged in new research for workplace expert Acas, which has useful advice for companies on hiring staff.
Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: "Many businesses experienced a challenging time due to the impact of Covid, and the employees at those organisations may have felt that they faced an uncertain future.
"As we come out of the pandemic restrictions, it is very encouraging to see a turnaround with two in five employers expecting an increase in staff in the year ahead and nearly a half expecting no change.
"Businesses that are looking to employ new staff should check out Acas's good practice advice and training on how best to recruit people, follow employment law and avoid discrimination."
Acas says that, when hiring, it's obviously important to find the best person for the job. But you should also check you're following the law on discrimination.
It's usually against the law to discriminate against a job applicant based on any of the following “protected characteristics” - age; disability; race; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation.
Acas also adds that indirect discrimination is against the law.
It goes on:
"In the workplace, indirect discrimination means there are rules or arrangements that apply to everyone, but which in practice could be less fair to someone because of their sex, race or other protected characteristic.
"For example, your business is recruiting for a head of sales. You only advertise the job internally. The potential applicants in the business are all men. You could therefore be discriminating indirectly against women.
"Another example could be a job advert which states applicants must have spent a specific amount of time doing something - for example, 10 years working in retail. By doing this, you could be discriminating indirectly against younger applicants. The advert should instead say that the applicant needs to meet a specific level of competence or knowledge. You could also include the main tasks and skills involved in the job."
Acas also states that, in some cases, you can ask questions about disability, race or other protected characteristics.
Common examples include asking a job applicant if you need to make "reasonable adjustments" for them - for example, making sure that a disabled person coming for interview can access your office.
Another example is asking a job applicant to complete an equality and diversity monitoring form, to help check your business follows the law.
You can ask that job applicants have a certain protected characteristic - for example, sex or race - but only if it's crucial for the job (an occupational requirement), or if it helps a disadvantaged or under-represented group.
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