Diversity Policy

SSQ is committed to being an equal opportunities employer and to the creation and maintenance of an entirely non-discriminatory working environment where all employees and workers are treated with dignity and respect. The aim of this policy is to ensure that all applicants for work and SSQ’s employees and workers are not unlawfully discriminated against because of sex, pregnancy or maternity, marital or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic or national origins, religion or religious belief, disability, age or any other protected characteristic.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

All SSQ’s employment decisions will be made in a non-discriminatory manner. This includes actions and decisions relating to recruitment and selection, training and development, transfers and promotions, compensation and benefits, and severance terms. SSQ aims to maintain a working environment free from harassment and intimidation.

This policy applies to all SSQ agents, consultants, workers and employees, regardless of seniority. Unlawful discrimination will not be tolerated by SSQ. Offensive behaviour which may fall short of discrimination or harassment will also not be tolerated. Any such matters will be treated extremely seriously, may be treated as gross misconduct and dealt with under SSQ’s Conduct and Performance Procedure.

SSQ will take all reasonable steps to ensure that applications for employment are encouraged and that you have access to, and are encouraged to take advantage of, opportunities for training and development, without regard to sex (including pregnancy or maternity), marital or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic or national origins, religion or religious belief, disability , age or any other protected characteristic and will ensure that there are equal opportunities at all stages of the recruitment process.

Job applicants (and candidates) should not be asked about past or current pregnancy or future intentions related to pregnancy. Applicants (and candidates) should not be asked about matters concerning age, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment without the approval of the Operations Director or HR Manager (who should first consider whether such matters are relevant and may lawfully be taken into account).

SSQ is required by law to ensure that all employees are entitled to work in the UK. Assumptions about immigration status should not be made based on appearance or apparent nationality. All prospective staff, regardless of nationality, must be able to produce original documents (such as a passport) before employment starts, to satisfy current immigration legislation. The list of acceptable documents is available from the HR Manager or the UK Border Agency.

If you believe you are disabled within the meaning set out in the Equality Act 2010 SSQ will discuss with you whether you are able to fulfil your proposed duties and whether there are any adjustments that could reasonably be made to your job or working environment to enable you to carry out your proposed duties effectively. SSQ may also ask a doctor appointed by it to advise on these matters.

If you believe that some form of discrimination is occurring, you should follow SSQ procedure, set out below. Those responsible for acts of discrimination because of sex, pregnancy or maternity, marital or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic or national origins, religion or religious belief or disability, age or any other protected characteristic, or any other breach of this policy may be liable to disciplinary proceedings under SSQ’s Conduct and Performance Procedure, and may also be personally liable for unlawful discriminatory treatment. SSQ treats any such issues very seriously.

SSQ COMMITMENTS

We are proud to be among the first signatories to the Recruitment Agency Race Fairness Commitment (RARE). This follows on from the Race Fairness Commitment signed by law firms in July 2020 and is an acknowledgment by recruitment agencies of the role they have to play in ensuring equal access opportunities for all candidates.  The commitment asks us to push clients for clarity and flexibility in relation to the backgrounds (academic/professional) of the 'best candidates’ and asks us to commit to ensuring that our candidate pools/databases match the profile of ethnic diversity in the UK and, where possible, that of the local population.  The fairness commitment reinforces the role that recruitment agencies have to play in making opportunities available to all.

We have also signed up to the 10,000 Black Interns programme and will welcome an intern in 2022.  This intern programme, which was founded in August 2020, was initially mainly directed at the investment management industry. It has now been extended to offer paid work experience across a wide range of sectors, providing training and development opportunities and creating a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship for the Black community.  

We are a Disability Confident Committed Employer which means we have committed to:

  • ensure our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible
  • communicating and promoting vacancies
  • offering an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the job
  • anticipating and providing reasonable adjustments as required
  • supporting any existing employee who acquires a disability or long term
  • health condition, enabling them to stay in work
  • at least one activity that will make a difference for disabled people

We are also a signatory to the Law Society’s Women in Law pledge.

We ensure our consultants receive training on unconscious bias. We encourage clients to inform us of their specific strategy and their D&I objectives and work with them to support this throughout our involvement in their recruitment process, aiming to select candidates on their skills and experience rather than their background. We actively seek referrals from a diverse talent pool. Practical measures include investing in a structured interview process – which seek to help reduce bias and “gut-feeling” hiring. By asking each candidate the same or a similar set of “control” questions, we are then able to have a consistent “data set” to help boost objective decision-making. We have used blind CVs such that candidates are selected based purely on their experience and performance with no reference to their gender, ethnicity or academic background.