Is there really an employment bias in the Philippines?

Last Sunday, Jo Alfafara, a pastor of Citichurch here in Cebu City, told us about heart-cry. It is something that bothers you so much, you just want to do something about it.

He shared a story of a missionary couple that ended up turning their home into a kennel. Because it bothers them that people just abandon the animals once they grow up to be less cute and more troublesome, they decided to commit in adopting and taking care of stray dogs.

Well, in my case, what bothers me is the prevalent employment bias in the Philippines. I know I can only but write an article that might change the employers’ mind. So here is the list of the biases I observe:

  1. Top companies prefer graduates from popular and urban schools

It is not even a secret, right? I do not even know why seeing a resume with a provincial school listing in it affects employers so much. Perhaps there is a stereotype. Perhaps people generally think that products of popular schools are much more skillful and intellectual than those coming from cities in the Visayas and Mindanao.

I personally know someone who dreams of working as a Clinical Research Analyst in one of the top pharmaceutical companies in Manila, only to find out that the job was not available. Minutes after the interview, she bumped into a friend of hers, a UP graduate and a hired CRA who later shared that there is a slot on the said position just this week.

You connect the dots.

2. Males have better chances to be hired.

It’s not also old news.

Males have it good. They have strength, higher IQ according to various studies and have always been a favorite gender in world history (insert God, Jesus, Einstein, Stephen Hawking, etc.) They also have more stable emotions as they have no tendencies to swing mood like it’s an axe. I like men, too, in various personal reasons rather than being a woman to start with. I like them because they are not innately gossiping creatures. Will greet you with high-five and what’s-up-bro. Will not stare you from head-to-toe as if there’s a runway competition. They’re not full of drama and are simple-minded.

But hey, if a woman applies to a company and she can be as good as any man, why slim down her chances of being hired, right?

3) I-know-someone-here is probably gonna get the job

Yes, another terrible culture in the Philippines that even the government is guilty with. Referral system. A-relative-of-mine is backed up by someone, not even considering if that relative can write a grammatically sound essay. It makes us cringe to see employers in the industry prioritizing the resumes submitted by their friends or people whom they know.

But that’s just how it works, right? Relationship before skill. Acquaintance-ship before competency.

It can also be attributed to the utang-na-loob culture. It sucks. Period. It sucks to see people who are in a position just because they know someone in the company, someone who is powerful enough to nudge the HR to hire that person. The consequences are as sucky — you get subpar and slow outputs.

It is the customers and the public that suffer.

4) Good looks can deceive.

Admittedly, people who look good in their 2x2 picture, and even better in person will get a higher rate of being employed. It is face value turned to real opportunity — even if the industry being applied for is not related to fashion and modelling. Good height and slim figure. Perfect posture. A sleek outfit. There’s a reason why forums advise to look your best during interview day. But what if you just don’t look that good enough? Or worse, what if all of your co-applicants seemingly have the genes of Kendall Jenner and Chris Evans?

So let’s cut the crap and admit that the girl or boy-next-door who does well in interview has better chances than someone who lacks the looks but equally does well in the interview.

It is sad to see that the society’s standard of beauty adversely affects its potential to produce quality work.

5) Extroverts vs. Introverts — Extroverts generally win.

It can be an introvert’s worst nightmare. Be a one-on-one interview or a panel type. If answering a phone call makes an Introvert nervous enough to make him or her undergo a panic attack, then this is bad news. Interviews require us to be exciting, full of energy and vibrant creatures. Extroverts are good at this. They are naturally expressive and are good conversationalists. This is the perfect recipe to entertain an HR personnel and make a lasting impression.

You know you’re dead when you hear the HR personnel laughing on the other side of the door. The guy inside must be so good at talking and convincing, that he has the favor on his side. By this time, you can only wish that the interviewer understands that not all people may not be good at talking but are better at working.

I hoped you like this short rant about employment bias. If you think this list lacks some important points, please feel free to comment below.

Thank you for the claps! :)

Hi! Finally had the guts to write for the public :) ENTP | RPh | Learner