Companies are wrong to take into account factors such as a candidate’s age or relationship status when recruiting.

That is according to Carolyn Jones, director of the Institute of Employment Rights, who has suggested that companies which operate in that manner are just "looking for a quick cure".

She said that the current recession is not being caused by "women or young people" and implied that businesses that make decisions based on gender need to be less short-sighted.

Commenting on the issue, Ms Jones said: "If a business can only survive by removing staff that may cost them something, then they shouldn’t be in business."

She went on to say that part-time staff, short-term and agency staff were all more vulnerable in a recession "because our legislation doesn’t protect them".

Research commissioned by recruitment scoring website, found that 89 per cent of employers questioned would not take into account a male applicant’s personal commitments when interviewing them
for a position.

The same research revealed that close to 50 per cent of employers would consider a woman’s age and relationship status when trying to establish the likelihood of that candidate becoming pregnant.