Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How to write job advertisements

The newly passed "Fair Consideration Framework" takes on discriminatory job advertisements to ensure that Singaporeans get an equal opportunity for each vacancy. No potential employer is allowed to express preference for applicants of foreign origins.

Perhaps in principle, the requirement to give Singaporeans a fair chance is a sensible one, as anecdotal evidence suggests that some employers tend hire people of their own nationality, overlooking Singaporeans who may be equally qualified. However, the actual implementation of these guidelines baffles me, especially how these guidelines restrict the way these advertisements are phrased, and what is perceived as discriminatory language.

It is commonly recognized that language conveys more than their literal meaning, and hence it could be exploited to hint rather than convey, and thereby pass on certain hidden agenda that would make sense only to those who are cued into the intended, true messages. Still, the new guidelines seem to take this concept to the extreme, by claiming discrimination in sentences that seem perfectly innocuous to me. Take for example:

"Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are welcome to apply".

This is no longer allowed under the Framework as it supposedly suggests that bias for foreigners. How does one arrive at this interpretation? I would have thought that it meant that Singaporeans are welcome!

As rumblings of discrimination continue, I worry that we overreact by perceiving it everywhere, or worse, claiming victimization for our own failings. After all, it must be accepted that not every Singaporean would be suitable for the jobs that are available, even if they happen to be unemployed.

1 comment:

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