This is not OK


man wearing white tank top
Photo by fotografierende on

I’m mad as hell. Because even though it’s 2019 and #MeToo is still an active movement, it’s clear that things haven’t moved on as much as I’d hoped.

Let me explain. Yesterday I was taken to lunch by a couple of recruters. I met one of them at a women in tech function a few months ago, and the other was one of her colleagues. Both bright, lovely young ladies in the formative stages of their careers.

Our conversation covered a lot of ground but we did spent a lot of time discussing diversity in the workplace and how that manifests for recruiters.  They told me stories that made my toes curl and really dashed my hopes for any kind of progress in the Australian workplace.

The ladder
The open role was in the infrastructure team of a tech function, meaning the person in the position could potentially be dealing with servers, cabling and the like. The recruiter put forward a woman’s CV and the hiring manager flat out refused to meet with her “because she may need to climb a ladder” to install hardware. Yeah, buddy. That’s why Wokplace Health and Safety exists.

The creep
Recruiters need a large network of both candidates and hiring managers. One of the ladies at lunch told a story of a CTO in his 50s with whom she was trying to cultivate a professional relationship. He ended up sending her poetry – yes, poetry! – and any number of sleazy text messages.

The bigot
This hiring manager specifically requested CVs from Australian men aged between 28 and 35. No women, no foreigners, no older people. Totally illegal, for the record.

The predator
LinkedIn is a great tool when you’re looking for work. Hell, I use it a lot to connect directly with recruiters. And that’s what happened in this instance, except the candiate was male and promptly hit on her when they met in person.

What. The Actual. F&ck?

I’m absolutely astounded. It’d be easy to give up on hoping for a more equitable workplace and culture based on the stories above. Because I know there are many which are worse. But we all need to fight the good fight here, and do everything possible to be decent human beings in the workplace. I have a few ideas for things that could help introduce a change. What are yours?

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