Applicants who are gender diverse can face considerable barriers when seeking employment. Barriers may be real or perceived but regardless, can place gender diverse applicants at a significant disadvantage when seeking employment.
UNDERSTAND GENDER DIVERSITY
It is vital that recruiters understand gender diversity. In the recruitment world the term gender diversity is often used when speaking of equity between men and women. This could be more correctly referred to as binary gender equity.
Gender diversity recognises the true diversity of gender ie. that gender is not binary. Some people identify as men, some as women, and some as neither or both or various. Recruiters should understand this diversity and recognise that true equity involves an equal playing field for all genders.
RECRUITMENT FOR THE GENDER DIVERSE PERSON WHO IS OUT
When presented with someone who identifies as gender diverse during recruitment, your perception may be that the person is out to everyone. For a gender diverse person, coming out may be a life-long process that can be convoluted and complex. While the person may seem happy to reveal their gender history to you, you should never assume that they are therefore happy to reveal this to others – particularly people from their past. This can create significant disadvantage for gender diverse persons asked to demonstrate their work history, to provide references or to undergo police checks.
RECRUITMENT FOR THE GENDER DIVERSE PERSON WHO IS NOT OUT
Some gender diverse people decide that the best way to be out or to transition in the workplace is to seek employment at a new, possibly more accepting employer. Some will go to great lengths to seek out such employers, looking for a way to finally be themselves at work. This journey can be distressing. Such a person may reveal their gender diversity at various points in the recruitment process, or not until a later stage of their employment, waiting until they feel safe in their new workplace.
SHORT LISTING SUCCESS OR NOT AND WHAT IS NEXT
Whether out prior to their application or not, if unsuccessful, applicants may assume that this is due to their gender identity and conscious or unconscious bias. It is important that you consider how you will discuss their unsuccessful application with them.
If they are a suitable candidate, you will need to discuss respectfully with them how you best go about consulting referees, and ways in which you can address any barriers such as education and employment history, qualifications and police checks etc.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS
Consider how you can remove biases from the process; how will you make a level playing field for trans and gender diverse applicants who may not be comfortable providing or even able to provide referees nor be able to demonstrate some work history?
Consider ways in which you can address any barriers such as education and employment history, qualifications and police checks etc.
COMPLEXITIES OF EMPLOYMENT FOR GENDER DIVERSE PEOPLE
For those who are gender diverse, the consideration of who to work for and in what role, can be complex. It may not be just about the workplace. A welcoming and inclusive workplace is of little benefit if the gender diverse person is applying for a role in which they will interact with a transphobic public, or a public that they doubt will be accepting.
The complexities of the anxieties experienced by gender diverse people when interacting with the general public or clients may be difficult to understand. An employer or potential employer should endeavour to provide a safe place for dialogue about such anxieties.