Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘barriers

Online applications: another jobseeker barrier/filter

with 3 comments


Even It Up! had a very interesting conversation with a sympathetic supporter yesterday.  He was telling us about his son who is studying to be an engineer, and is currently doing a nightfill job at a Coles supermarket.  In order to get the job, his son had to complete a “one size fits all” online application that included an aptitude test.  Bearing in mind that job was for nightfill (opening boxes and stacking shelves) our supporter was bamboozled at the sort of high level, cognitive questions that were asked, for example:

  • What is the square root of X divided by Y times Z?
  • If X was travelling to Y at Z km per hour, how long would it take to get there?
  • Label the contents of a cell

The son ended up (quite rightly) in the top 97% of applicants, but was only offered a position filling shelves.  Interestingly, other nightfill staff  are studying to be doctors, lawyers, geneticists, robotic engineers etc.  Our supporter contends that Coles hires them because they are reliable and they want the work (which is fine), but wants to know why smart people are not channelled into more appropriate “knowledge” work within the company?

He also asks the question why more unskilled people aren’t applying for these sorts of  manual/service-type jobs, and he came up with the “because they have to apply online” answer.  Immediately, those who are not cognitively up to scratch (in the eyes of the organisation), or don’t have internet access, or whose first language is not English, are filtered out by the technology.   It’s discrimination, but in a very covert manner, because overt discrimination (as we all know) is illegal.

Barriers, obstacles, filters, discrimination: the job market is in a less than satisfactory state.  And yet the government (and opposition) keeps talking jobs, jobs, jobs.  Clearly, no one has had the conversation with business.

Written by evenitup

April 22, 2009 at 9:57 am

Jobs, jobs, jobs… and the economy

with 5 comments

The scramble to stop the economic melt-down is on, and governments all around the world are working overtime to come up with strategies to deal with the crisis.  No one wants to talk about the “R”or (even worse) the “D” word.

Interestingly, the rhetoric around “jobs” and “the economy” is closely linked, with one underpinning the other.  Prime Minister Rudd and Treasurer Swan say their main focus in the $42 billion rescue package is jobs.  Clearly “work” (and all that that entails) underpins the economic recovery.

But from the perspective of distance and innocence (Even It Up! does not profess to be even slightly au fait with the world of economics), the government is taking a bit of a an interesting approach: it is looking to manage the job situation rather than innovate.  While the focus is on infrastructure (which we believe is correct, although what would we know?) no mention has been made regarding the responsibility of companies and corporations in all this (although there is the occasional plea) and the tipped rise in unemployment to 7%.  

Even It Up! thinks that many corporations are rubbing their hands with glee at the opportunity to be able to shed staff  and so boost the bottom line – because no questions will be asked. In any other suituation,  BHP shedding 6000 staff worldwide would cause an outcry.   Ditto ANZ and Macquarie (although considering banks got us into this mess in the first place, we are not surprised).

Call us naive, but what Even It Up!  would like to see is businesses given incentives to boost employment through innovation and knowledge creation.   Australia is pretty good at innovating (it’s that whole not liking authority thing that is part of our culture) but we are terrible at commercialising.  Now is the time to be bold, not play it safe!

And we’d love to see all businesses review their recruiment processes to make it easier to get a job in this uncertain environment, not harder.  Get rid of any barriers – systemic or otherwise – that stop the recruitment of the best and brightest, or even just the good.  

We’d be happy with that.

Written by evenitup

February 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm