Equality and diversity officer: job description

Equality and diversity officers aim to reduce workplace discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. Some are generalists while others specialise in a particular area.

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Equality and diversity officers help to maintain a diverse workforce, which is recognised as key to a successful business.

What does an equality and diversity officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Equality and diversity officers work to promote equality and reduce discrimination within workplaces, schools, universities, housing associations, social welfare organisations and the wider community.

Responsibilities of the job include:

  • running training sessions
  • maintaining records and information systems
  • advising about the effects of discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation
  • compiling statistics
  • acting as an advocate for and presenting the needs of members of ethnic minority groups, the LGBTQ+ community, and those affected by age or disability
  • raising awareness of equality issues and promoting change
  • preparing/distributing publicity materials and displays
  • interpreting and ensuring compliance with legislation
  • preparing and delivering presentations
  • researching cases.

Referral to and liaising with other relevant organisations (such as community groups) are key features of the work.

To find out more, take a look at our overview of working in the area of diversity/equal opportunities . You can also head to our HR areas of work section to explore other possible specialisms.

Typical employers of equality and diversity officers

  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Professional associations
  • The Law Society
  • Schools and universities
  • The police
  • Large private sector companies
  • Local authorities
  • Trade unions
  • The Civil Service

Vacancies are advertised in local, regional and national newspapers, Adviser Magazine , AdviceUK ’s fortnightly job lists, and by Citizens Advice. Speculative applications to employers are advisable, particularly for work experience placements.

To get you started, take a look at our list of employers who offer HR graduate training schemes .

Qualifications and training required

Many posts will require a degree. Any discipline may be accepted, but the most relevant subjects include law, psychology, business, management, education, social/community work, public administration and sociology/social sciences. A postgraduate degree in equality and diversity, race and ethnic relations and disability studies may be helpful.

Previous relevant work experience is essential prior to entry into the profession. This can be gained by helping in a local advice centre, citizens advice bureau or students' union welfare office. Many equality and diversity officers enter the profession following a career in teaching, law, social work, housing, welfare rights, HR, health or youth/community work.

Membership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) offers opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD) and can help to show your commitment to your field. You can become a member by obtaining a CIPD qualification or through experience assessment, where you use your experience from the past three years to gain professional recognition.

To get into this career as a school leaver, the most likely route is to complete an apprenticeship in HR and gain experience before applying for specialist roles. To find out more about getting into this career as a school leaver, see the business section of TARGETcareers , our website for school leavers.

Key skills for equality and diversity officers

  • Good listening skills
  • The ability to relate to a wide range of people
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Maturity
  • Confidence
  • Open-mindedness
  • Patience
  • Negotiation skills.

Read our article on the skills and competencies required for a career in HR to find out more.

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