Avoid discrimination in your job advert

Published1 Nov ’22

Discrimination in job adverts still often occurs. This is prohibited and as an employer you must be aware of this. What is allowed and what is not?

The vacancy text is the candidate's first introduction to your organisation. By setting clear job requirements, you hope to find the best candidate for the position and organisation. Sometimes you can unintentionally exclude (groups of) people with these requirements.

Direct & indirect discrimination

It is not allowed to make a direct distinction according to skin color, gender, sexual preference, age, religion and disability. Indirect references are also contrary to law, like asking for a starter or student, a female secretary or a flawless command of the Dutch language. By making an indirect distinction you exclude groups of people (elderly, women, ethnic minorities). Age discrimination is particularly common, see study Leeftijdsdiscriminatie in vacatureteksten (only available in Dutch).

What can you put in your job ad and what not?

Avoid discriminatory language in your job advert with these two tips from the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights:

  1. Select candidates on competencies and not on personality types
  2. Only focus on characteristics, skills and knowledge that are relevant to the position

The Vacature Check (only in Dutch) of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights offers a solution if you are not sure. They share clear examples of what Dutch language is not allowed in a job advert and how you can adjust your text. You can download the Vacature Check as a PDF, so that you can easily share it with your colleagues.

Stay alert and avoid discriminatory language.