This essay argues that discrimination is a likely occurrence during the recruitment process. It will focus upon the various forms of discrimination faced and the issues relating to personality and perceptions resulting from the mainstream perspectives, stereotypes and ideologies held by Anglo-Saxon Australians. It will then examine the human resource practices and the selection process, highlighting the discrimination that occurs due to the unrealistic and unnecessarily high standards of recruitment criteria and specifications laid out by managers for candidates. Finally it will address the impact and influence that the managers values can have upon the recruitment criteria and the final selection made.
Discrimination has long been a likely occurrence during the recruitment process, becoming a major problem throughout Australian society. Dating back through Australia’s history we have continually seen society empirically group people according to their country of origin and culture. The idea of ethnocentrism has surfaced as a result of the pre-existing culture of intolerance of cultural difference. As Ho and Alcorso demonstrate, ‘Australian employers and local workers in the post-war decades had a clear interest in utilizing a workforce that was not only ethnically distinguishable from the local workforce but also considered to be largely unskilled and little educated’ (2004, p.254). This meant that employers declared it to be suitable for ethnically distinguishable groups to have low-paid, low-skill and hard-working jobs.
This degrading ideology has brought forth the tendency to stereotype and make assumptions about individuals based upon clouded judgment, beliefs and mainstream perspectives that are often inaccurate. The statement ‘ I think we will always prefer Australian background… they know how to do things’ made by a head of accounting professional from a company in Wollongong (cited in Almeida et al. 2012, p.1956), highlights how Anglo-Saxon Australians are often placed at the centre of Australian culture, while those of ethnic background are placed on the margin, being considered inferior. This underlying ideology is regularly carried through into organizations (Clegg et al. 2011), with the various behavior, sub-cultures and ‘taste-based discrimination’ (Booth et al. 2010, p.5) seen to manifest at work often owing ‘more to external social values than to any management facilitation’ (Ackroyd and Crowdy, 1990, p.10).
Neglecting to acknowledge the growing discrimination taking place during the recruitment process, the Australian government claims the ‘productive diversity’ (Ho and Alcorso, 2004, p.237) of the Australian workforce is proof of the migrant and ethnic ‘success story’ (Ho and Alcorso, 2004, p.238). And yet, despite this claim, the extensive numbers of highly skilled immigrants relocating to Australia and those from ethnic backgrounds are more than often found amongst the many people with low-skill and low-paying jobs (Ho and Alcorso, 2004). This suggests instead that the under-utilisation of skill and the overlooking of credentials is common, with many ‘less able to secure jobs in which they frequently used their qualifications’ (Ho and Alcorso, 2004, p.243). Many academics have challenged the government proposing that while the ‘most positive attitude [is] towards immigrants admitted on the basis of skill’ (Markus, 2011, p.1), the ‘Labour markets were blind to social attributes such as ethnicity or immigrants status’ seeing them instead as an ‘industrial cannon fodder, recruited to Australia to perform unskilled labour and confined to the role after arrival’ (Collins, 1991; Ho and Alcorso, 2004, p.237).
The reluctance that many employers have in their willingness to recruit...