Equal Opportunity Employment in R.P. – a distant reality

My friend’s cousin, after 15 years working as a telephone operator in a local telephone company finally gave in to the attractive retrenchment compensation, signed her walking papers quickly, fearful that she might lose the monetary advantage if she delayed the process. She became a full-time housewife for the first time, stayed home for a year to take care of the kids. The 12 month hiatus was great but then boredom set in and the money was dwindling. She deposited whatever remained of the money in the bank and started applying for a job. To her surprise, job hunting was no longer easy. She had been rejected many times because of her age. She tried to lower her expectations and applied for lesser paying clerical jobs but guess what – the same thing. She’s too old for the job. They’re looking for much younger women. What the heck is wrong with a 36 year old experienced college graduate? And to be cynical about the whole thing ,what’s so damn exceptional about being 25 year old anyways? You’re not hiring GRO’s for some bar or beer garden so why discriminate on age? Why impose a limit on age on a pretty mundane clerical job – isn’t overall personality and not age that counts ? Equal opportunity employment – this buzzword is still very much alien to motherland R.P. It is now a practice for companies to have security guards filter applicants by their alma mater, humiliate those that are not from Ateneo, UP, La Salle and other exclusive schools by telling them to go and take a hike. Isn’t this an arrogant statement, that graduates from other schools are by default substandard, not deserving of any consideration? Are they supposed to be the bottom feeders of the food chain, scraping for morsels and droppings left over by the elite? What is gross and disturbing about the whole thing is the powers that be in government and the private sector seem to approach the vain elitism with nonchalance, implicitly condoning the hypocrisy. Perhaps being members of the well to do and elite themselves, their Ateneo going children are the ultimate beneficiaries of the snobbery so why bother to change the damn thing?

In other parts of the world equal opportunity employment is an important tenet in the governance of a country. It guarantees equal access to job opportunities to every citizen, regardless of age, color, creed, religion, gender and social status. Some countries even prohibit the requirement of candidate photos in application forms for reasons that the evaluator can cast biased judgment on the person’s looks. Some governments require companies to submit the race/gender/age/social status profiles of their employees on an annual basis to check if there are signs of discriminatory practices.

Equal opportunity employment can never be perfected but it is important that every country embrace the concept and the equity that it brings to its citizens. In R.P. there are glaring discriminatory hiring practices that can be put in the burner like imposition of age limit and preference for social status, i.e. single over married, without substantial justification. Companies need to be more practical and realistic and understand that they have a responsibility to society and that is providing equal access to job opportunities to everyone. Does every job in the world require a college degree? Why automatically penalize those without degrees by excluding them from the list ? Regulation and licensing , which is another topic of discussion, are equally flawed. Other countries require engineers to have at least 4 years of experience related to their profession before conferring professional licenses, even if they pass the board exam. This simply reinforces the notion that in engineering , theory and practice are inseparable and no one should call himself a professional engineer until he has engaged sufficiently in both endeavors.

Much can be said about equal opportunity employment and people can criticize, laud or argue with the issue until it is black and blue but one thing is evident – the hiring practices in RP needs reform. Guaranteed that legislation can’t fix everything but employers need to change their hiring culture and habits and depart from the archaic bureaucracy and vanity that have been going on for some time. The government must champion the cause by being the main catalyst of change, walk the talk and lead by example.

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10 Responses

  1. Hi bW!

    This is so depressing a topic to discuss. :<

  2. I fully agree X-P. I’m just on my rant cycle, so I had to air it out!

  3. For a minute, think of yourself as the OWNER of the company. You have a requirement for just a single clerical position and you can choose among a hundred applicants. To simplify the illustration, one factor related to age will be considered.

    Would you hire someone old who is more likely to get sick (implications: lesser work efficiency, absenteeism, higher medical cost)or someone young who is healthier, taking other things constant?

    Objectively and honestly now.

  4. Right on bro. Let me preface by saying that at the end of the day, the employer has the say. But hey, to advertise on paper age and social status as a pre-qualifaction to a position without justification, – like lifting heavy objects or constant travel, isn’t that discriminatory? In other words is it fair and moral for us to assume that anyone above 25 years are likely to be unhealthy hence inefficient or a married secretary with 3 kids likely to be a candidate for absenteesim ? What happens to the 25 year old clerk we hire 15 years later? Does that mean she’s reached the point of inefficiency?

  5. Some legislator out there has got to come up with a EEO law first.

    Research show that old folks, and I mean those who are pushing into their 40’s and 50’s, are less absent’ist’ and come to work earlier than young people.

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  10. The first thing I noticed when I applied for jobs here in Canada is the absence of questions regarding age, marital status, religious sect. I remember having to type these info in my bio-data back home. I also remember a co-worker back there lying about her marital status. She never told anyone, except me and another friend that she was actually married and had a child. Just think about that. Having to lie just to get hired, or to secure your job.

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