Different is equal

different is equal

Let’s imagine a utopian world, where perfect equality would rule over working life. A situation, where men and women, majorities and minorities, young and old, would all be in equal position in labor market. Where nobody would be discriminated for irrelevant details in terms of expertise. Where everybody would have an opportunity to live out their professional dream identity. What if this was not just a utopia?

When values and action point to different directions

One of working life’s contradictions concerns respecting difference and providing equal opportunities to all the applicants despite their background. Social Psychology has researched prejudices and discrimination in many different ways, for instance the contradiction between implicit and explicit attitudes and values and action in practice. Many companies promote equality in their public facing activities, but actual job search and recruitment experiences speak against them in practice. There is a commitment to the values of equality, parity and diversity on the internet pages of the companies, but in practice applicants that differ from mainstream may stay in the shadows.

According to Helsingin Sanomat (31.10.2018) Finnish, professionally successful celebrities tested their labor market value by applying to vacancies with their own résumés with Roma names, they did not receive even one invitation to an interview. Contradictory, right? Often it is not about conscious discrimination, companies might truly imagine that they act according to their values, but they end up unconsciously, time after time, favoring applicants representing certain profile at the cost of other applicants. In addition, one of the most interesting contradictions is reverse discrimination, when one group is being favored specifically because of the fear of stigma of discrimination.

From prejudices and discrimination towards appreciating difference

The contradictions of working life have to be acknowledged so that they can be solved. Some companies have tried for example anonymous recruitment to minimize the effect of prejudice and discrimination. Getting rid of prejudices and discrimination should, however, happen consciously by seeing all the applicants in a light that they professionally deserve as unique individuals. Sex, ethnic background, age or other demographic factor should be totally secondary factors when applying for jobs.

Unfortunately, perfect equality still does not exist, but every person working with recruitment should start looking at their company’s recruitment policy and culture from this point of view. Surely some tasks require for example flawless language skills, and the lack of them would logically explain the lack of proceeding in the recruitment process. But sex, ethnic background or age are in no way tied to this. If other requirements are equal for two different applicants, the quality of work does not differ in any way whether the applicant chosen to the job represents male or female sex, Finnish, French or Zimbabwean ethnic background or lower or higher extremity of the age range. We can only hope that someday companies will act authentically and consciously according to their outward communicated values.

At Wannado values meet practice

At Wannado we strive to choose for each position the most competent applicants without giving weight to irrelevant factors like sex, ethnic background or age. For us difference is richness, everyone is different in their own way, and different is equal. Would you fit as a part of Wannado’s open community, representing and highlighting authentic equality, diversity and freedom? If your answer is yes, check out the selection of our international open vacancies or send us your open application emphasizing your positive difference via e-mail to recruitment@wannado.fi ! We are waiting for you!

Kaisa Piipponen
#SuperAssistant of HR, Recruitment and Communication

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