What to look out for in prospective inclusive employers.
Looking for a new job may seem to be a straightforward process: go to a job board; find an ad with job description that catches your interest; send in an application with the hope of securing an interview.
But if you're a transgender person, a mother returning to work after raising young kids, a person with a physical or intellectual disability or a career person 55 years and over it's likely you'll think twice before sending in a job application.
A range of questions like "Will this company accept me for who I am?", "Will I be allowed flexible hours and work arrangements so that I can still take care of my kids?", "How accessible is the office and is the company willing to make some changes to accommodate me?" may cloud a person's motivation to apply for a job.
In the absence of direct answers from an employer some jobseekers begin a lengthy process to investigate if a company is safe, accessible and welcoming of diverse candidates. Public record of policies, practices or other clues help paint a picture of a company's inclusive culture. Nowadays companies are increasingly publishing videos and blog posts on social media that expound their values and virtues.
However, online searches usually yield results on corporate inclusivity in America, Australia or Europe. The number of companies sharing meaningful examples of inclusive workplace practices in Asia are relatively few. Stories on how small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Asia adopt a diversity and inclusion strategy are even rarer.
A lack of clues about a company’s diversity and inclusion strategy oftentimes is reason for some jobseekers to abandon a job application completely. Other jobseekers may venture making a job application but struggle to ask questions about inclusivity during an interview fearing negative repercussions.