Yeah this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I often wonder how long it will be before the UK follows the likes of South Africa and New Zealand and actually dictates how many people from ethnic minority backgrounds must be employed by each employer.
With regards to the disability thing, I believe it actually used to be the law that all employers had to invite disabled people to an interview. It's no longer the law but certain institutions such as the BBC choose to still practice that.
But there are a couple of things to take into account:
- An interview doesn't guarantee that you get the job. Sure, it means you've got a better chance than someone who didn't get an interview, but it still doesn't guarantee anything
- Some people who are disabled might choose to not disclose that they're disabled on an application form for fear that it will harm their application. I am actually disabled myself as I am partially deaf, but I don't disclose this as I work in a role which requires me to use the telephone a lot. My disability doesn't affect this because I only have problems if there is a lot of background noise or something, but even so, I never disclose it for fear of what people might think. Plus, during the application process, I'd like to think that I got the job on my own merits and not because someone felt they had to hire the token deaf candidate
The bit about welcoming applications from people from different ethnic backgrounds annoys me. Sorry, yes I am white, but I just think this particular phrasing sounds really patronising. I just want to say "yes of course you do; it's illegal not to". I can tolerate phrases like "we are an equal opportunities employer" - that's not so offensive.
But again, this doesn't really mean anything because it's not suggesting that they are more likely to hire someone from an ethnic minority background. I'm curious to know, if anyone reading this can answer, if a person belonging to an ethnic minority group saw two jobs advertised, and felt that both sounded interesting, both were based in good locations and offered attractive salaries, and this person felt that they met the criteria for both, but one ad said that they welcomed applications from diverse ethnic backgrounds and the other didn't, which would they be more likely to apply to? Or wouldn't it make a difference? I suspect it wouldn't make a difference.
To be honest, I think employers should be barred from asking any of this stuff during the application process. I think the only question they should be allowed to ask is "do you have the legal right to work in the UK and under what means?" The point to asking these questions is to monitor that their workforce (in terms of gender/ethnicity/etc) is a reflection of the amount of applications that they get, but I think it does more harm than good.
So, to cut a looooong answer short, I think that this is just crap that employers write on job advertisements which doesn't mean anything when it comes to the actual hiring process. I don't think you're a victim of positive discrimination, but at the same time I don't think that these stupid policies achieve anything for the people that they're meant to help.