Which countries score the highest in terms of equal employment opportunity regulations?

Published by:
Diana Rocha
November 25, 2019
min read

Get the full report here

At Applied we’ve learned a lot about discrimination laws around the world and how countries are making sure that employers comply with them. While doing this research we classified 20 countries• depending on how good they are when it comes to making it hard for employers to discriminate, especially when it comes to hiring decisions. 

Here’s how the best countries for equal employment opportunities ranked:

Source: cross-country research done by Applied

*We used 2 criteria for selecting these countries: 1) our customers operate in these countries, or 2) they correspond to large economies with easy-to-identify data.

1st: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, USA

2nd: Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, South Africa

3rd: Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, Nigeria, Norway, Singapore, Sweden

These are the 5 criteria that we used when classifying countries:

Specific laws on discrimination

We gave a higher score to countries that have created laws that are explicit about tackling discrimination in different contexts, including employment. Countries with specific regulations on employment practices got the highest score. There are countries that only have some provisions at a constitutional level, and therefore received a lower score.

Specialised equality organisation

Countries that received a higher score have created specialised, independent equality organisations that make sure employers and job applicants are informed about their obligations and rights, provide educational resources about employment practices and share discriminatory cases from which organisations can learn and adapt. We gave a higher score when the organisation was completely specialised in employment practices.

Number of protected characteristics

Through their laws or through enforcement organisations, countries are explicit about the characteristics that are especially protected from discriminatory practices (e.g. sex, ethnicity, disability, religous beliefs). Countries with the highest score have a longer list of protected characteristics.

Educational resources on hiring practices

Countries with a higher score have digestible, user-specific guidelines (e.g. guidelines for employers, or guidelines for job applicants) that clearly explain what can or can’t be done at each key moment of any hiring process: defining requirements for the job, writing job descriptions and job ads, creating application forms and doing pre-employment enquiries, assessing and shortlisting candidates, interviewing them and keeping a record of hiring decisions.

Guidance on how to monitor D&I in recruitment

We consider this as a separate criterion because we love to acknowledge Iris Bohnet’s reminder that applying data to people decisions is what we all need to do if we consider the truism “what does not get measured cannot be fixed.” Countries that received a higher score go a step further and give guidelines to organisations on how to 1) monitor Diversity in hiring decisions while making sure there are not any risks of discrimination; or, 2) measure a very challenging type of discrimination, for example: indirect discrimination.

Want to learn more? Read our full report here!

Applied offers a range of resources to help companies embrace an ethical approach to hiring. We've used data from over 100,000 applications to rank the top diversity job boards, so you can focus on channels that deliver a diverse range of candidates. Take a look or alternatively, request a demo of our recruitment platform to ensure a fair, skills-based hiring process.