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Discrimination During the Recruitment Process Essay

This essay is about discrimination as a common phenomenon during the recruitment process in organizations. The recruitment stage is the point at which employers evaluate candidates and make decisions on the acceptability of the individual in the labor market. Organizational culture is an organization’s values and beliefs generated from controllable shared experiences. First, it is important to examine the recruitment process because people execute their duties on the basis of their drawn understanding and personalized meaning of the task. The meanings are embedded in unique cultures that influence the management’s decision-making capacity. Many preferred work values and behaviors are derived from group preferences on what upholds the interests of the organization. This brings into focus occupational culture that incorporates elements external to the management and is resistant to change. The study will bring out my argument by discussing the proposition of Almeida et al. (2011) in revealing the screening: organizational factors that influence the recruitment of immigrant professionals. The second argument will be drawn from Townley (1989, p. 149), selection and appraisal, which focuses on the importance of selection and appraisal procedures in the productivity of an organization. The third argument and the conclusion are drawn from Booth, Leigh, and Varganova (2010), racial and ethnic discrimination across minority groups.

Research on employment outcomes for immigrants points out the policies, professional associations, and personalized considerations that obstruct the recognition of qualified immigrants in Australia (Jackson & Carter 2007, p. 72). Employers play a big role in defining the procedures to be used in the recruitment process in their organizations. The employer’s decision to utilize locally groomed professionals have adverse effects on human resource management. For instance, in Australia, many organizations prefer the local workforce because of the experience and minimum costs in training and maintenance of the staff. However, underutilization of certain skills that are available in the market can have detrimental effects on the productivity of the organization (O’Doherty 2007, p. 61).

According to Almeida, Fernando, and Sheridan (2011, p. 81), formal migrant programs have led to the movement of skilled immigrants into Australia in a bid to solve the shortage of skilled labor in Australia. Immigration policies require the immigrants to meet the stipulated competency framework and job specifications as well as the required language ability, good conduct, and health checks before acquiring approval for permanent residence. Despite these requirements, according to Almeida, Fernando & Sheridan (2011, p. 19), the job listings have mismatches that lock out the immigrants even before they reach the recruitment phase. The immigrants are thus forced to work in lower positions compared to their Australian counterparts. According to Livingstone (1999, p. 181), in situations whereby qualified individuals are forced to settle for less-skilled positions, but this is referred to as involuntary reduced employment.

Recruitment entails attracting a large number of qualified candidates and gathering professionally related information about the interested candidates. On the other hand, Townley (1989) defines recruitment as a process of discrimination that grants the management an opportunity to scrutinize and choose candidates using predetermined discriminatory criteria. The resulting competency frameworks and job specifications are discriminatory and lead to the exclusion of a certain group even before entering into the labor market. According to Delahaye (2005, p. 309), job description and specification are used by the management in developing the preferred competency framework and choosing a selection method. The preset selection criteria can lead to recruitment or rejection of immigrants in the hiring process.

Employers can be influenced by organizational factors like the nature of the job and the quality of the finished products, customer satisfaction, and the need for specialization. For example, research carried out in Australia indicates that specialized public accounting firms used the criteria of accounting experience in the recruitment process. In addition, the recruitment board did not pay attention to where the experience was earned as far as it was relevant to the practice of accounting. The Australian experience is preferred because of the employers’ assumption that the employees are conversant with Australian tax, and their performance is streamlined. Organizations discriminating immigrants on the basis of lack of Australian experience justified their course through the assertion that their clients relied on local generated advice for successful management of their businesses. For instance, the firm’s clients need clear guidance from their staff. This requires a broad knowledge of accounting in Australia. According to the Head of Accounting Firm, professional immigrants lack knowledge that has an Australian background (Markus 2011, p.109).

In the human resources practice, the nature of the job on offer influences the selection criteria used in choosing a suitable candidate. Employers use broad categories in choosing members of a big team. However, the specifications are likely to be more stringent if the candidate sought for is considered to be very critical in the organization. For example, an organization seeking financial account tend to oversee the operations of a public accounting firm is likely to use a narrow competency framework in specifying the required work experience and qualifications in Australia. This criterion has an unfavorable influence on professionals that do not have an Australian background experience (Ogbonna & Wilkinson 2003, p. 1152).

Other factors that foster discrimination in the recruitment process include urgency in the need to fill in a vacancy within a short period. In Australia, employers assume that local professionals can be easily integrated into the organization, can work with minimum supervision, require minimum training because of their professional experience, and their acquisition and maintenance is cost-effective to the organization. A report from the Productivity Commission (2006, p.16) indicates that the job requirements of a tax accountant are very detailed, and the organization does not have time to offer training. Therefore, the overseas experience was not required. This specification discriminates against immigrants who have the specified qualifications and competencies on the basis of the country of origin and perceived costs of the organization (Yiannis 1997, p. 315). If employers prefer recruiting local professionals on the basis of productivity and cost-effectiveness to the organization, they are likely to design rigid frameworks that would confer an added advantage to the local candidates over their overseas counterparts in the shortlisting process (Fromm 1942, p. 126).

Managers consider the resources at their disposal to facilitate training and support the professional growth of the new recruits. In small organizations that have limited resources to support training, the employer is likely to design a competency framework that reflects on the current operational needs of the organizations rather than its long-term needs. According to the Productivity Commission (2006), large organizations have enough resources at their disposal to support in-house training for employees. Research in Australia indicates that large organizations that have been involved with expatriates are likely to use a globalized and open approach in their recruitment process.

For instance, a recruitment consultant in Australia reckons that large international organizations are likely to employ immigrants in Australia because they recruit often, are conversant with the market, and realize the professional contribution of the expatriates. However, despite the size of an organization, organizational characteristics like the ethinicity of the clients can influence the selection criteria adopted (Kareman & Alvesson 2004, p. 163). For instance, the growth of the group of immigrants in an organization is likely to influence the management to design competency frameworks that are likely to accommodate more immigrants. Organizations that have business interests in various countries prefer to use multicultural business approach. Recruitment of individuals from different cultures is because of the understanding that the immigrants can understand and relate to the situations at hand better (Ellsworth & Baer 1981, p. 52).

Gender preference in an organization influences discrimination at the recruitment phase. Research carried out at Wollongong indicates that there exist a local, traditional and discriminatory management attitudes in well established organizations. Rossen (1988, p. 683) asserts that the old fashioned discriminatory networks exist in Britain’s banking sector. This network prevents European migrants from accessing employment opportunities in banking institutions. Tick box has been identified as one of traditional recruitment criteria. According to Rossen (1988, p. 683), a research was carried out to ascertain if employment outcomes of immigrants are based on fair consideration of the required skills. The findings of the research indicate that the recruitment team is highly influenced by the organizations attitudes and beliefs, and human capital is a secondary phenomenon. Factors like type of the organization, ethinicity, and leadership style adopted in an organization influence stereotypes and levels of tolerance leading to shortlisting of candidates who fit in the organization’s profile (Booth, Leigh, & Varganova, 2010, p. 22).

There is a growing trend in preference of particular selection procedures in some organizations. Adoption of a certain selection procedure in an organization is influenced by the management’s emphasis on the preferred attitudes and behavior of the employees. Interests on attitude and behavior is associated with poor management philosophy than dynamism in the production field. Attitude and behavior attributes consideration is based on the assumption that employees react differently to work environments and policies developed to enhance productivity. According to Ho and Alcorso (2004, p. 245), failure to understand the details of the personality criteria selection method in large organizations involves abuse of the selection procedure because of the failure to understand the details of the procedure.

Ho and Alcorso (2004, p. 238) assert that appraisal in an organization reflects the existing relationship between the management and the subordinate staff. The process of appraisal represents a personal application of power. In situations in which it is related to monetary awards or other favors, it reinforces the role of the supervisor. The objective of the appraisal process is developing a personalized control to create uniformity in the procedures in question. Performance appraisals are based on personal perceptions on what is expected of the project. The personalized ideas discriminate on employees who hold a different opinion in the selection procedure. In addition, assessments based on the existing relationship between the employee and the management are likely to yield biased results because of factors like personal favoritism (Productivity Commission 2006, p. 79).

The human capital theory assumes that labor skills are durable and malleable. It is used as a tool for analysis of the required skills in the organizations and what is available in the market. In the United States, the earnings are predetermined by one’s race (Ferguson & Gerspach 1985, p. 8). For instance, the Blacks earn less than their white counterparts. However, the difference in Black-White skills is on the decline as the society is highly integrated because of equal access to resources and high education. Workers and their employers attach importance on the racial composition of the staff in an organization. Employers who discriminate racially on the basis of the compensation offered are likely to discriminate racially at the recruitment stage. Hiring equally qualified Blacks is considered to be detrimental to the nominal profits of such organizations (Booth, Leigh & Varganova, 2010, p. 31). There is no empirical evidence to ascertain if an organization’s profit is based on its staff racial composition. Discrimination is most rampant in situations whereby employees require a higher renumeration to work in certain organizations.

According to Herman (2007, p. 154), immigration is a global process of filling in the short and medium-term gaps in the labor market. Underutilization of immigrants can lead to reduction of productivity in sectors that would have been easily tapped from the migrant population. Noon and Blyton (1997, p. 7) assert that immigrants are likely to emigrate if they believe that their interests are not met by the current employer. For instance, re-migration is high in the initial years of one’s stay in Australia. Literature on skilled immigrants and the consequent employment outcomes in Australia indicates that there are factors that directly influence the rate of employment, renumeration, and underutilization of skills among the skilled immigrants. According to Welch (1975, p. 84), the main factor that increases the rate of unemployment among the skilled immigrants is non-recognition of the credentials. According to Townley (1989, p. 104), skilled immigrants in Australia face professional cartels and employer’s failure to accept educational qualifications and experience earned in another country.

In conclusion, employers use several organizational characteristics in formulating competency frameworks and job specifications to be used in the recruitment process. The developed selection criteria is likely to discriminate on one group or another because it is the essence of the recruitment process. However, there are detrimental criteria that discriminate candidates on the basis of gender, country of origin, and where the professional experience was earned. In addition, employer’s interest in personality and behavior has no professional basis and is thus likely to discriminate on individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. According to Booth, Leigh and Varganova (2010, p. 10), human resources professionals look for a reflection of their personal profiles in the candidates. For instance, research indicates that in Australia, some public firm managers formulate a competency framework to be used in recruitment basing their ideologies on their personal background.

In addition, they use their personal attributes in defining a suitable candidate for the position (Ackroyd & Crowdy 1990, p. 6). Professionals using such criteria are definitely looking for a specific group defined by personal and geographical limitations. Development of a competency framework on the basis of the behavior that is accepted within an organization ultimately blocks the immigrants from becoming the suitable candidates. This is because their personality, qualification, and work experience are likely to differ from the recruiters personal profiles. In addition, Meindl, Ehrlich and Dukerich (1985, p. 95) reckon the critical role played by immigrants’ language ability toward a low rate of employment and low earnings. For instance, despite their educational qualifications, English-speaking immigrants have an added advantage over non-English-speaking counterparts in terms of renumeration in Australia.

List of References

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Booth, A, Leigh, A & Varganova, E 2010, ‘Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence from a Field Experiment’, IZA Discussion Paper No. 4947.

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