Lawful Recruitment Advertising: What You Need to Know

Lawful Recruitment Advertising: What you need to know

Writing job adverts is a bit of an art, not only does it need to be informative and explain the role and the company but it also needs to be attractive to the applicants AND appropriately keyworded for search engine optimisation. But the skill of advert writing doesn’t end there, there’s also the legal stuff to consider: what you can and can’t say, what are the minimum requirements for employment by law?

You may have seen in the news that even the Government’s own job board, Universal Jobmatch, has been pulled up for breaching discrimination laws. Luckily, the Flat Fee Recruiter service includes a professionally written advert designed for the job board market, our Copywriters ensure your adverts are packed with key words, are engaging AND in line with the law. So what do you need to know to ensure your recruitment advert is in line with the law? So how do we do it


Under the Equality Act (2010) there are several stated protected characteristics: age, disability, race, belief, sexual orientation and gender. Any recruitment advert that directly or indirectly discriminates against these protected characteristics faces discrimination charges.

Job adverts can be accidentally discriminatory, for example stating a role requires experience in excess of 10 years falls under Age Discrimination. Similarly, referring to the desirable candidate as ‘mature’ is also Age Discrimination as is ‘recent graduate’ if this is not actually a requirement of the role.

Titles are also in jeopardy, where a lot of titles were traditionally acceptable, they are now at risk of breaching Sex/Gender Discrimination. Titles such as Craftsman, Salesgirl and Head Master are all discriminatory and need to be neutralised accordingly: Craftsperson, Sales Person/Advisor/Consultant and Head Teacher.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, these are called Genuine Occupational Requirements which justifies certain ‘discriminatory’ requirements i.e. a female carer required for a live-in care position.

National Minimum Wage

One of the main things applicants look for when seeking a new job is the salary and whether the position is attractive and going in the right (upward) direction. So when advertising a role, it’s always in the back of our mind that the salary meets the National Minimum Wage:

  • 21+ years old £6.50 per hour
  • 18-20 years old £5.39 per hour
  • Under 18 years old £3.79 per hour
  • Apprentice £2.73 per hour
Legal Working Hours

Another deciding factor for applicants is the hours they will need to work. A job role that has fewer than 35 hours per week is a Part Time role and anything between 35 – 48 hours per week is a Full-Time position. If your role requires the applicant to work in excess of 48 hours this role is subject to an opt-out clause: workers 18 years old or over who want to work more than 48 hours per week are allowed but have the legal right to opt-out of the 48-hour limit whether for a short period or indefinitely.

Equal Ops Monitoring

Equal Opportunities monitoring usually features in the application process more so than the advert itself but it is important nonetheless. As a company you are allowed to ask questions regarding the applicant’s gender, age, religion, nationality etc. if it is for the purposes of monitoring ONLY, this information cannot be used during the selection process.

In terms of the advert, we’re happy to reiterate your fair selection process by writing a line at the bottom of the advert stating that your company is an equal opportunities employer. If you have underrepresented groups within your organisation we can also put a line at the end of the advert saying something like: ‘our client is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes all applications especially from women and black, Asian and minority ethnic groups who are currently underrepresented’. This is Positive Action – the encouragement of underrepresented groups to apply for the role, though favour should not be given during the application process.

The Flat Fee Recruiter team advise all our customers if there any elements in an advert that is noncompliant because we understand that with all of the factors involved, it is easy to oversee or not keep up to date with current law and legislation, especially if your company doesn’t have a dedicated HR department

So next time you need to fill a position get in touch with us on 0113 3227243 or email us at .

If you like this, you may like these articles or find more from our Recruitment Legislation category