Today’s Picture–Employment sign in Singapore

In case it’s difficult to read (sorry, it’s an iPhone pic), it says

Help Wanted

  • Female
  • Age 20+
  • Singaporean/PR
  • Fluent in English and Chinese
  • Able to work independently

The reason I found it noteworthy is that even after a year, I still suffer from the occasional bout of culture shock.  In the US we have non-discrimination laws that are fairly strict.  You could never specify the sex or age of a potential employee, and if you tried to, you would get sued.  Here, I see signs that specify that sort of thing all the time.  There’s nothing (to my knowledge) that prevents people from discriminating on age, weight, marital status, sex, ethnicity, etc.  It’s even legal to ask you questions about all of the above in the interview process.

When I did the HR side of things for a retail store in Boston, I had to be careful to try to keep a balance of potential interviewees.  Granted, I did weed out certain things–the potential employee who filled in the application in crayon was never called in for an interview, for example.  The interviewee who took a call on their cell phone was not extended a job offer.  Legally I could not ask questions about marital status, whether or not a potential employee had children, or anything like that.

So yeah…I see things like this, and it’s still a bit of culture shock for me.

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11 Responses to Today’s Picture–Employment sign in Singapore

  1. bookjunkie says:

    I wish you could have been my job interviewer for all my past interviews…then I wouldn’t have gone through job interview hell in Singapore. ok…there were some nice people from my earlier jobs…but mostly….nightmarishly ughhh

  2. Dawn says:

    I think there are some jobs here that still are gender specific. For example, I don’t think a man could get a job working the desk at Curves since it’s a women-only gym and the whole philosophy involves allowing women to work out away from the prying eyes of men. I wonder if any man has ever applied for that job, been turned down, and sued…

    • Crystal says:

      Actually I was a member of an all-women’s gym–Healthworks. We had male desk workers and male trainers.

      I know someone sued over not being able to join Healthworks. He lost the case, I believe or it was settled out of court.

      • Dawn says:

        That’s really interesting. I’ve never seen a man working at a Curves, though all they have is the one desk worker and sometimes Zumba instructors (who are all female afaik). The gym seems to cater to women who want to work out in an all-female environment, so it could be argued that hiring a male desk worker would cause the business to lose customers (though apparently it didn’t for Healthworks), and it could be that it’s just not an issue because men don’t apply for the jobs (I think they’re pretty low-pay). Also…have you ever seen a male Hooters waiter?

  3. kierstenS says:

    What I find the most disturbing, is discrimination based on health conditions! I won’t get too specific here, but before we hired a woman in our company, the HR dept asked her future supervisor if he wanted to hire her because she had hypertension!!!!!!!
    This BLOWS my little American mind.

    • Crystal says:

      Definitely. I have a friend who has CP and she has said to me that there’s no way she would get hired in Asia because of it.

      Blows my American mind, too!

  4. Laura says:

    Yes it still shocks me too, especially when I was job hunting when I first arrived. I’m only 32 but in one instance the job was only available to females 30 and below. I was pretty shocked to think I was officially ‘too old’ to apply!

    • Crystal says:

      Ravi and I were denied life insurance here. We’ll have to get it in the US. Luckily we were able to get health insurance (we couldn’t have taken the job without it because of E’s medical stuff).

      Wow, 30 is too old! I realize we’re not spry as we once were, but we’re hardly decrepit! (I’m 32 as well.)

  5. Amit says:

    I am glad you said as an American it shocks you.
    Let me give you a different point of view:
    The employer is looking for a Female.
    Focus is not the rights of the prospective employee but what the employer think the customer wants. Customer is King. I am sure if it was Moving company – they would have asked for a male. Under 20, some cultures believe teenagers should study and not try and earn pocket money. No child labor. Singaporean/PR ie no illegal immigrants need apply or employer is not going to get special visa. Fluent in English and Chinese. Again employer’s point of view of the pesky customer needs. Work independently – we do not hand hold.
    There is less focus on the rights of the individual and more on the customers needs.

    • Crystal says:

      While I think you make several good points, I have to admit I’m just too American to concede that it’s a good idea. While it’s not that there isn’t plenty of quiet discrimination in the US, I think that protections, like not being able to ask a woman if she’s a mom or planning to have children should take precedence. It’s just too ingrained in me to believe in the rights of the individual over that of the many.

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