Race more important than skills when it comes to jobs, study finds

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended Feb. 17, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims fell to 216,000 in mid-January, which was the lowest level since January 1973 (Leaflets lie on a table at a booth at a military veterans' job fair in Carson, California - Reuters filepic)

PETALING JAYA: Despite sharing the same qualifications, language skills and experience, a job applicant’s race still plays a major factor in employment, a study has found.

 The study - conducted by Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) - found that the resumes of Indians and Malays are the least likely to receive callbacks from employers in the private sector.

On the other hand, the resumes of Chinese candidates dominated the callbacks by a huge margin, according to the centre in a statement Thursday (March 7).

Over the past few months, Cent-GPS said it sent 3,829 job applications to more than 500 jobs.

In each of these 500 jobs, seven nearly identical resumes were submitted, but represented by different fictitious ethnic group candidates - three Malays, two Chinese, and two Indians.

The study ensured that all of the seven resumes had the same qualifications, experience, language ability (Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin) but

differed in religious beliefs.

Out of the seven, Nicola Yeoh and Gabriel Liew, both ethnic Chinese, fared the best with 240 and 179 callbacks, respectively.

Zulaikha Asyiqin Rashidi had 70 callbacks, Nur Sakinah Yusof (50), and Kavitha Muthusamy (49) fared the worst for women, while Muhammad Saddiq Azmi and Thivakar Gunasegaran had only 43 and 20 callbacks, respectively.

“Both our female and male Chinese candidates obtained more job callbacks than their Malay and Indian counterparts combined,” said the statement.

At the same time, Cent-GPS said that despite its candidates being able to communicate in Mandarin at an “intermediate” level, a Chinese candidate is still likely to receive callbacks.

“Nicole received a 55% callback rate from Mandarin-required firms, while Thivakar only received 9%.

“In conclusion, for the most part, when companies list 'Mandarin required' in their advertisement, it is just a filter to hire Chinese candidates,” it added.

Cent-GPS also said that a Malay girl who does not wear the hijab is likely to receive more callbacks compared to one who does.

“Zulaikha (who did not wear a hijab) obtained a 12.8% callback rate, while Nur Sakinah (who does) obtained a 9.14% callback rate.

“The only difference was that in the picture, one wore a hijab and the other did not.”

Cent-GPS said the study paints a bleak future for Malaysian youth, and if such employment trends continue, many more people will be marginalised.

“Hard-working Indian and Malay students will not get the same opportunities they deserve, creating a dangerous future of inequality and social instability,” it said.


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