As a jobseeker, I'm always drawn to articles that pinpoint the key qualities employers seek in applicants. It can often be helpful. Athough lately, in our "information-rich" and so-called "socially inclusive" society, it can be downright infuriating.
The item in yesterday's news: "Survey finds many Australian employers value men over women; prefer workers without children" - gave me reason, as a frustrated female jobseeker, to scream: Please enough already! It's just another case of too much unwanted information! And pass me another strawberry schnapps!! Make it a double!!
For do we female jobseekers really need to be fed another ridiculous news story about yet another underwhelming survey outcome, that underlines (and unfortunately proves) - not our inadequacies - but those of the picky recruiters and employers who were surveyed?!
Apparently, according to the findings, a large number of Australian businesses prefer male employees. That is, males without children. And why?
According to Kronos Vice President, Peter Harte (who undertook the research) the survey revealed that, "a large majority of businesses thought their ideal worker was a male, without children, relationships or interests, who wants to work lots of hours."
Harte said the findings were: "Particularly concerning and that with the demographics of the workforce changing, Australian business can't afford to not tap into women and mature-age workers." I'm glad he said that.
And just where did Kronos get their survey outcome from? I'd like to drill down further into the data gathered, to discover a little more about the 2,500 participating business leaders and employers. Although, I think I can already glean, one or two things about those who ticked a preference for workers who are singleton, male versions of Stepford Wives.
The mummy factor
It's clear, that such employers (in their medieval mind set) are still living in past times, when women remained neatly in the domestic sphere, to have and look after children. And in their free time they would of course, prepare meals, and mop the floors and brows of their husbands (masters, whatevs).
It's unfortunate that in this 21st century, we are still having to put up with such myopic and neanderthal employers who persist in stereotyping the role of women in this way.
The BRW's Fiona Smith says: "It just shows there's no accounting for stupidity" and that, such male "ideal workers" sound as "dull and uninspired as your average computer".
Or, as amusing as an iRobot floor cleaner. Although I wouldn't mind one of those, to give my floors a once over, while I'm outside resurfacing the front porch.
Regardless of whether or not they have children, Smith highlights why women in the workforce are having to "pay the mummy penality". And she affirms the reason that women are not the model of the “ideal worker” is because the majority of them have children, which means they may want time away on maternity leave (an average nine months).
The presumption of "mummyness"
Of women with a degree, Smith notes that: "26 per cent (one quarter) do not have kids, but they will get lumped in with everyone else anyway."
There's also what Smith calls, the "part-time pariah" factor, which discourages employers, from taking on those who prefer part-time work hours. This can include the mothers who are likely to transition to part-time work, older workers (including older males), and those needing additional time to look after sick relatives (such as elderly parents). And of course there are many people, who prefer part-time work, to achieve the "work-life-balance" that we are all supposed to be striving for.
And those annoying part-timers
Smith notes that spreading the work around, must be too difficult to manage for those employers who probably also cannot co-ordinate casual workers, contractors, shift work and the scheduling of holidays.
Even when an applicant's experience, and background may make them a more effective worker, and the employer's recruiting decisions appear acutely unfair, Harte says that currently: “Businesses have an inclination toward employing those people that fit the mould of least disruption. As a result they’re missing out on a wealth of experienced talent that has to languish in the background because employers are unwilling to meet their needs and circumstances.”
Harte says: "It seems that while we struggle with skills shortages in Australia, our businesses still have a belief that accommodating the work/life balance of employees is either too costly or disruptive to creating a high-performance team”.