Sep 26, 2013

    Social media puts focus on unfair job ads

    COMPANIES that put up unfair job advertisements, such as those having gender or nationality requirements, be warned.

    The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently clamped down on such errant firms, and online social media has raised awareness on discriminatory job-hiring practices.

    Yesterday, MOM said it had taken another 10 companies to task for their job ads, which did not adhere to guidelines set out by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (Tafep).

    The ads spelled out certain discriminatory requirements, including age, gender, nationality and a combination of these.

    MOM said the companies "could not provide valid justification for restricting their recruitment to exclusive groups".

    The companies must put up online public apologies for 30 days. They were also barred from hiring foreign workers for six months, following the publication of their apologies, said MOM. The ban took effect on different dates between May and last month.

    In one instance, executive search company Zingmi put out an ad for a bank treasury dealer. The ad said: "Let us hear from all the Singapore permanent residents from Malaysia - Truly Asia."

    In its apology note, Zingmi said the ad was the result of an "unintentional error", made by a new staff member. The firm added that it values potential Singaporean candidates.

    MOM has taken action against a total of 12 firms so far this year for discriminatory job ads.

    Still, the number of unfair job ads has fallen in the past six years. A Tafep spokesman said the proportion of ads that were discriminatory dropped from 19.7 per cent in 2006 to 0.7 per cent last year.

    Social media has also kept errant firms on their toes. Member of Parliament (MP) Patrick Tay told My Paper that, with the transparency that social media can bring, bosses and human- resource managers "are more mindful of what they post" in job ads. "If anything is unfair, someone will blow the whistle," said Mr Tay, who is a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Manpower.

    Fellow GPC member Zaqy Mohamad said: " There is an impact on the branding of the company, if they are portrayed to be discriminatory."

    GPC member Zainal Sapari said that, in most cases, companies publish discriminatory job ads due to ignorance.

    Mr Zaqy and Mr Tay said that, while the criteria in job ads are explicit, there may be more implicit forms of discrimination during the selection process.