Cultural diversity

Advice on researching employers and talking about your beliefs in the application process

Your religious, philosophical and cultural beliefs will shape you and influence your career choices. In this employment guide we're looking at how to find out about an employer's culture and advice on talking about your beliefs.

Many employers will recognise the importance and advantages of recruiting a diverse workforce that bring a wide range of skills, expertise and knowledge to the organisation.

If you’re looking to gauge whether a recruiter or employer is inclusive when it comes to faith issues, their HR and equal opportunities policies should provide the insight you need. Remember that an employer is not legally required to allow time off or facilities for religious observance, but it's good practice for them to do so.

Opportunities - what to look for when researching employers

When researching different organisations and establishing their approach to religion and belief, here are some key things to consider: 

  • Does the organisation have an equal opportunities policy? If so, what does the policy say about their approach to religion and belief? 

  • Does the organisation comply with the Equality Act and reference this within their policies and procedures? 

  • Does the employer have a specific policy relating to faith issues? Is there explicit information on dress, periods of fasting, flexible leave to cover religious holidays? 

  • Does the employer recruit a range of staff from diverse backgrounds and cultures?

  • Are there any facilities, including a space for prayer and reflection? 

  • Does the organisation have any religious societies? 

Overall, you're likely to find that this information is easier to research for larger organisations and companies with human resources departments. However, many smaller organisations will also have developed equally inclusive policies and approaches. 

What do you need to tell a potential employer?

Questions relating to religion and belief should not be included on an application form; instead they are typically included on a separate equal opportunities monitoring form and will not be seen by a hiring manager, although you are not legally obliged to disclose this. However, people may have some anxieties about disclosing religious beliefs to an employer. 

It may be beneficial to discuss your beliefs to an employer if you require some flexibility around taking time off for religious observation and events, or if you need any accommodations to practice your faith.

Take the same approach you would to answering any other interview question, considering the skills and qualities you have gained from your experience and involvement. You may provide examples of how you support your local religious community, demonstrating your interpersonal and organisational skills. 

Support organisations and networks 

The following organisations provide additional information and advice on religion or belief discrimination: