Friday, 27 Nov 2020

Three new features on national job portal to weed out discriminatory hiring

SINGAPORE – Three new features have been rolled out on the national jobs portal MyCareersFuture to strengthen progressive hiring practices among employers.

A key thrust of the portal is to “provide as many job seekers as possible a fair chance at the roles advertised”, said Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a joint statement on Tuesday (Nov 10).

The features aim to set a new standard for other job portals to follow, they said. They are:

1. Prompting employers to adhere to TGFEP when placing job advertisements

An “Employer Prompt” feature reminds employers to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) when crafting job postings, and before they are published on MyCareersFuture.

2. Better guidance for employers in crafting neutral job ads

Social listening technology is used to review all job postings published on MyCareersFuture, and potentially discriminatory terms or mentions are flagged to employers.

Employers are guided on how they can improve their job postings, so they are better able to attract and find the most suitable candidates.

Employers will be expected to amend discriminatory job advertisements and Tafep will investigate any breaches of the TGFEP.

3. Making it easier to report possible discrimination

The “Report Discriminatory Job Ads” feature allows job seekers to conveniently report any discriminatory job posting they come across on MyCareersFuture.

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Tafep will review the reports and investigate any breaches of the TGFEP.

The announcement comes amid concerns from local job seekers that they are not getting a fair deal in a tough job market, and that some employers are biased against Singaporeans.

In August, a fresh group of 47 employers were placed on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watch list for potentially discriminatory hiring practices.

Since January, the Ministry has suspended the work pass privileges of 90 employers under the FCF, of which 45 were due to posting of discriminatory job advertisements.

The FCF was introduced in 2014 to maintain a strong Singaporean core in PMET jobs, and sets out requirements for employers to consider the local workforce fairly for job opportunities, including jobs advertising requirements.

WSG, Tafep and MOM said in their statement that all employers are expected to ensure they do not use phrases that indicate a preference for certain groups of employees.

They cited the example of a private school which posted a discriminatory job advertisement on MyCareersFuture in July, stating its preference for candidates under the age of 30 for the position of Legal Manager.

As the position involved more than 60 business trips a year, the employer assumed that older employees might not be able to cope with the frequent travel.

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For breaching the TGFEP, the employer was barred from hiring foreign employees, and from renewing the work passes of its existing foreign employees for 12 months.

WSG director for digital experience for career services, Dr Joyce Tan, said: “As the labour landscape continues to evolve especially amid Covid-19, it is timely that we look into strengthening how we detect unfair employment practices.”

Tafep general manager Faith Li said that technology can be a key enabler for employers to hire fairly, which in turn increases their talent pool.

“We look forward to working with more job portals so that more employers and job seekers can benefit from fair and progressive employment practices.”

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