Race, Gender and Job Market

Here is another article in Financial times on race, gender and Job market dynamics. I have written on this issue in this blog here and here.

This article talks about how some institutions are moving towards color/race blind. This means bye-bye to affirmative actions in universities etc. However on the other hand we have people with this opinion

“Ms Hobson believes “we cannot afford to be colour blind”. “We have to be colour brave,” she said in a Ted Talk. “We have to be willing, as teachers and parents and entrepreneurs and scientists . . . to have proactive conversations about race with honesty and understanding and courage.””

“Despite their preference for a multicultural approach, the two academics expect colour-blindness to gain in acceptance, not because people with ethnic minority backgrounds feel victimised by labels, but because white people do.

In a 2011 survey they found that the average white American believes they face more racial bias than African Americans.”

The last line applies even in India where upper caste people feel victimized by the reservations for lower caste people.

P.S Please do check out the full financial times article its very interesting.

Economics of job market

This is an interesting article in mint on how looks can affect your job prospects.  An excerpt from the article..

“Most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking salespeople, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors,” wrote Hamermesh. “This is not a matter of evil employers refusing to hire the ugly: in our roles as workers, customers and potential lovers, we are all responsible for these effects.”

This is an interesting point, if we as customers are biased towards buying products from better looking salesperson isn’t it logical for the businesses to discriminate candidates based on looks? Earlier research has shown that discrimination is not only restricted to looks but also race, cast etc. You can find another excellent article on this topic here.

As a cautionary note we should keep in mind that if ones race, cast etc are correlated with their, let’s say, attitude towards work then it makes perfect sense for the recruiters to discriminate job applicants based on these factors. It means the recruiters are not discriminating because they are biased against any group but because they don’t have better tools to reduce the information asymmetry between themselves and the job applicant regarding his capabilities. In future I would like to see some research on how one can reduce this information asymmetry between the recruiters and job applicants.