It had already been a few days since my friend qualified as a chartered accountant but was still searching for a job. Her confidence decreased with each passing day. Her self-esteem lowered and frustration began to reflect on her behaviour.
“Hey, what happened? You don’t seem to look good, today?” I asked.
“Job hunting is a frustrating process, Hardik,” she said.
“Why? Lots of jobs are listed on job portals and even on LinkedIn. Send your CV and I’m sure you’d be able to get access to any of these opportunities.”
“You know what, most of these companies only want male candidates, or at least they prefer only male candidates,” she said in a low tone.
That seemed really awkward to me because the thought that gender biases could creep into the recruitment process never came to me.
“You must be crazy, I don’t think there’s anything like that. There aren’t ‘males only’ preferences for a job position, at least not for position for fresher chartered accountants.”
She was already frustrated and I believe my statement further fumed her anger. She snatched the laptop from me and started searching for jobs on a job portal.
She searched for ‘jobs for fresher CAs in Jaipur’ and 30 results appeared. A whopping 15 employers invited job applications only from male candidates, while six other employers preferred recruiting male candidates over female candidates.
I was surprised and felt defeated.
She then opened LinkedIn on a new tab and searched for posts calling for fresher CAs to apply for various positions. Some of them were:
There was long silence in the room. She stared at me while I was staring at the laptop screen realising that gender biases do exist.
The other day I read about how a woman went up to her boss to complain against sexual harassment at the workplace. And, all the boss had to say was this:
“I empathise with you, but who told you to work in a male dominating industry?” he said while laughing with four other people.
We talk about sexual harassment at workplaces, yet often we forget to discuss the most crucial factor that leads to sexual harassment which is – the preference of only male candidates on job portals.
According to a recent Randstad Workmonitor Survey, 55% respondents said that males are preferred over females for positions for which both are equally qualified. Globally, the ratio is even higher, where more than 70% respondents agreed with this. Interestingly, out of the 55% Indian respondents, 61% males agreed with gender biases during recruitment.
Ironically, even female recruiters prefer male candidates during recruitment. This is because there are certain stereotypes attached with males which include – “Males can devote their entire day to organization”, “Males can do any given assignment” etc. and hence during almost all recruitments, males are preferred over females.
It is assumed that females can’t do overtime in office and that their commitment to work after marriage is uncertain. Hence organisations are afraid of investing time and resources in female candidates.
While most companies prefer a male employee for field jobs that require sheer hard work but hard work isn’t a synonym to the male gender. Instead, applications may be invited from everyone and then let the interview decide who the deserving candidate should be.
The saddest part of the story is the fact that almost all senior-level positions are occupied by males. Indian firms don’t have many females in their top management and the problem lies at the grass root level – they aren’t recruited in high numbers so obviously, their chances of reaching higher positions is lesser. Plus, ‘masculine style of leadership’, ‘patience’ and ‘full devotion’ is something which is deemed to be attached only to males and hence they are always preferred for jobs that directly affect the revenue of the company.
I can’t understand why females are always under-estimated during recruitment. What needs to be understood is that we have to abolish gender biases during recruitment processes, if we are to make workplaces a safe zone for women.