The body responsible for overseeing recruitment for the island's most senior public roles says it is "extremely concerned" about "unacceptable" language used by interviewers towards women.
The issue was raised in the latest Annual Report from the Jersey Appointments Commission (JAC), which oversees the recruitment of high-level Government employees and appointments related to public bodies.
In a section on Diversity and Inclusion, the Commission, chaired by Dame Janet Parasekva, said: “One aspect of recruitment that we remain extremely concerned about is the inappropriate language of a small, but not insignificant number of panel members towards women."
Pictured: The JAC oversees the recruitment of senior Government roles and appointments for public bodies, including Andium Homes, Digital Jersey and the Jersey Development Company.
The report continued: “It is unacceptable in any appointment to use biased or inappropriate language.
"For future appointments where this is the case, the appointment process will be stopped, and the Commission will require the removal of the panel member.”
As a result, the JAC issued an official recommendation that panellists attend ‘appropriate’ interview selection training.
Commenting on the concerns, the Commission told Express that, while the "vast majority" of recruitments meet their recruitment standards, they wanted to highlight the issue.
“The JAC has drawn out two particular incidents and concerns to ensure that all bodies are aware that we will assert our independence and standards without bias,” they said.
“Where we have concerns, we pause the recruitment process and will, if needed, terminate the recruitment process.
“We have reported these to the States Employment Board who have been responsive and take action to address concerns.”
The Commission also reported on the current ‘gender mix’ for Government of Jersey positions.
For Director General-level roles (tier one) in Government, the JAC reported that only one woman has been ‘substantively’ appointed, and one woman is currently ‘acting-up’.
At tier two (group directors) and tier three (heads of department), the gender mix is ‘more evenly matched’.
Pictured: As of February 2022, there were 50 roles in the Government's senior leadership team, 14 of which were held by women. (GoJ)
The JAC said: “Detailed analysis is being undertaken at the end of each recruitment process for Tiers one two and three by the Government of Jersey recruiting team.
There continue to be roles of a Finance and Health nature where one would expect a higher number of female candidates, however the number of such applicants remains low.”
The Government of Jersey recruited for 14 roles in tiers 0–3 in 2021, which was overseen by the JAC.
Pictured: While the JAC say the 'vast majority’ of recruitments meet their standards, two particular incidents were cause for concern.
Across all roles, 19% of applicants were female, while the gender split for applicants at final interviews (as well as the split of appointees), was 77% male and 23% female.
The Commission noted that reference to Diversity and Inclusion continued to focus on gender equality, with little reference to other criteria, such as disability.
“We would like to see more focus on attracting a wide range of candidates," they said.
The States Employment Board said in its 2021 Annual Report, published this week, said that the Government was working on diversity and inclusion. It said that "several new employee-led networks have now been established", including a BAME Group, a Neurodiversity group and an LGBTQ+ group, with each able to directly "feed into policy development work."
A dedicated Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Consultant has also been appointed to support these networks.
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