How marital status (could) impact a job hunt

On a surface level, it may not seem like an individual’s marital status will impact their job search, but this is not the always the case. Although an employer is not allowed to ask a question about a potential employee's marital status (amongst other personal questions), whether or not they are married could play a big role in finding work simply based the flexibility that they may have over somebody that is married.

How marital status (could) impact a job hunt

On a surface level, it may not seem like an individual’s marital status will impact their job search, but this is not the always the case. Although an employer is not allowed to ask a question about a potential employee's marital status (amongst other personal questions), whether or not they are married could play a big role in finding work simply based the flexibility that they may have over somebody that is married.

Flexibility
If somebody who is single is looking for work, it could be easier for them to find a job because they do not have the same commitments that a married job seeker has. For example, a single person could consider moving to a completely new area of the country for a job but this could be problematic for somebody that is married as they will have to consider their spouse too (and especially if they own a home and have children).

Lack of Financial Support
Generally speaking, those that are not married have greater flexibility when it comes to their work. Not only this, but somebody that is single is more likely to be more proactive and aggressive in their job search because they may not have any form of financial support. A married job-seeker may have a spouse that contributes to the household, so the couple will be able to support themselves on one income whilst they commence the job hunt which could make it not quite as pressing.

Circumstances
Of course, these are all generalisations and the circumstances will be different for every individual. As an example, a job-seeker may be going through a separation and speaking to divorce lawyers which would allow them to pursue a vacant position in a different part of the country. Alternatively, a married couple may include a spouse that works from home and this would make them able to move anywhere, whilst a single person may have a long-term partner, a child or family that keeps them in the same location.

Key Employability Factors
The key factors to successfully finding a new job are employability, experience and skill set. In addition to this, a candidate is more likely to find work quickly if they have a flexible schedule, they are willing to relocate and they are reliable. Generally speaking, these attributes are more likely to be found in a single person as they may not have as many commitments as somebody that is married (particularly with children), but this is not always the case.

For Employers
From an employers perspective, it is essential that you do not discriminate when advertising a new job for your business. A candidate’s marital status, age, religious or political beliefs, whether or not they have kids, nationality, personal health and other similar topics are off the table and cannot be discussed. It is important to be aware of discrimination laws and to avoid personal questions during the application process. Instead, an employer needs to focus on finding the right person for the job and someone that will be a good fit for the company with a careful selection process that does not take personal matters into account.

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD Asia.

Recent articles & video

Creating conditions in which organisational development thrives

Jack Ma on '996' overtime culture

How to offer a stellar employee recognition program

Hong Kong Airlines faces mass employee exodus

Most Read Articles

Google's chief diversity officer quits

2019's best workplace in Asia revealed

How to handle a toxic boss