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Racism "rife" in Finance and IT?

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by NiteKreeper, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. I admit to some "discomfort" over the last few years, while I've watched large sections of my own company outsourced to India, and a large percentage of new hires hailing from the subcontinent.
    So I was a little gobsmacked to read the following article this morning:

    Now, given we seem to have a large number of IT geeks on this board, I figured it was a good place to ask the question: Do you think that racism is more noticeable in the Finance and IT sector?

    I'd like to avoid a debate on whether or not Australia is a generally racist country if that's possible, and focus on the target sectors...
  2. No, I work with Sikhs, Albanians, Syrians etc etc. It is a convenient sop as to why you didn't get the job, "oh they were racist against me."

    We have been hiring recently and as the job had a customer liaison component we put strong emphasis on command of English. Many applicants had the skillset but poor English. Making yourself understood in the Lingua Franca of the country is important.
  3. I work in a gov't dept and would say that in the IT dept at least there is a good spread of nationalities including those from asian countries and in/around the sub continent. I work in a large dept so not sure of the actual figures but I would say proportionatly there are more in the IT section than other sections so don't really agree with the article but the private industry may be different.

    FWIW My experience with the vast majority though is that they know their stuff and their position has been gained on the merit of their knowledge and training not any sort of stereotyping.
  4. I work in finance and IT, and have to say that our floor is just about as multicultural as you could get. Indian, Chinese, Thai, Russian, Croatian, Ghana(ian?), Kiwi, English, Italian, Greek, Irish, and that's just within throwing distance.

    I wonder how the survey was done...
  5. I need my eyes tested for some reason I thought it said Racism in France and Italy

    Seriously though I do not think there is racism at all in IT.

    I am white, male, perfect command of the English language

    - I have a pile of IT qualifications a foot tall. I also 8 years experience working as an IT systems engineer for a Federal Government Intelligence Agency at the highest clearance level - when I left I was not even able to secure a position on a help desk phone line.

    So I just hate IT full stop.
  6. I think accents are a huge limiting factor in IT if the job involves mostly direct contact with clients. A slight accent is fine as long as they have a good grasp on Australian culture from living here for a few years and interacting with other cultures, but if a job applicant obviously struggles with the english language of course they wont get the job.

    As an example, I work closely with a Fijian-indian guy, he was born here so has an aussie accent and is very charismatic. None of our clients care that he is black as midnight, some even joke around and call him chocco, of course he plays along with the joke and is not offended by it in the slightest.

    I wouldnt say these industries are racist, but value job applicants that fit in and have people skills, Dashmir Shankar who just moved to Australia from Mumbai 3 months ago does not have these skills yet.
  7. Racism is rife full stop!!
    But it's getting better!!
    I have worked in finance and IT, have been the 'wog' in the team to the us n them mentality to 'dont give him any help he's asian' this is management talk I am raising. Currently on help desk, I am maltese born, this aust day I am 1 year aussie citizen [yeah a bit slow to move] to my left a greek, opposite is chinese, diag to right is morrocan, further right Lebbo [fark she screams and one racist person that one] next her Glen [skip lol] other side of him a variety all sorts, this place has umpteen nationalities, I take calls from 'old aussies' that I hear [almost immediately] thank god you have no accent!! The perception of accent = no idea is a farked mentality.. Agree tis hard to get a message across if we aernt tune in to accents!! Hate to say it but racism is there, I dont like the bullshit where 'management' slag employees cause of their origin, had that at a previous place, I got treated better then the 'asians' fark that shite.. hate it big time
  8. It's not about race or nationality but about the ability to communicate that often causes people to be turned down for jobs. I remember a conversation with a taxi driver from the sub-continent who couldn't get work in IT. He wa well qualified but almost totally incomprehensible. He at least realised that it was his spoken English skills that were costing him which was one reason he had taken a job as a taxi driver. He wanted to practice his English as much as possible.

    Goddie, the issue in the article was more about racism in hiring practices - while you may have encountered it at work, the fact remains that you were hired in the first place.

    The worst racists I've ever encountered are Japanese. They have a very fixed heirarchy - it goes Japanese, westerners, other asians, blacks and finally Koreans.

    The funny thing is that even Japanese can't tell a Japanese speaking Korean from a Japanese person. When I was working on the Coal to Oil project we wanted to hire a Korean-Australian programmer and had real problems getting approval from the Japanese in HR. They couldn't actually say why they didn't want him of course but really put obstacles in our way.

    It took a lot of effort from my then boss Dr Matsumura (very definitely one of the good guys) and the Australians in HR to push it through. The funny thing is that when the project ended, he was considered more than competent enough to be offered work in Japan (as were most of us).
  9. Hmm...interesting read!
  10. Congratulations
  11. I haven't seen evidence of racism in hiring practices at my work. Seems to be a wide variety of backgrounds where I am.

    A lot of communication now relies on instant messaging/email, which can partially negate some verbal communication issues. I have emailed/messaged some people, and really couldn't tell that english wasn't their first language, but when I talked with them it was really hard to understand. Sometimes for international staff (in my experience Chinese developers), who can understand an american accent just fine, the aussie accent is significantly different.
  12. I've worked in Finance for 20 years. I've never witnessed any racism. The only people I know in finance who've had difficulty getting jobs are those that have poor communication skills.
  13. We have an interesting situation here which is why I posted in the first place.
    About 5 years ago a senior manager was hired in IT.
    Since then, not one non-Indian person has been hired in that team; Level 8 is now known as "Little Bombay"...
    Seriously, the entire team on that floor speaks Hindi, and I suspect that's because some of them don't speak English well, if at all.
  14. There's obviously some racism, maybe a bit less than the general populous who knows.

    Accents are a huge issue I have to deal with Oracle and some of their support people are impossible to understand.
  15. It doesn't seem markedly "rife" compared to other industries in Australia or more importantly the same industries overseas. Does exist, shouldn't be ignored, also not worth excessive lefty hand wringing melodramatic angst :p

    Have come across the vexing "not accepting my barely understandable accent is racism" thing a few times from people who seem to overestimate their English. Frustrating for all concerned, but amusing the one time it was a Caucasian American who just could not enunciate well enough and still wanted to pull that card... xD
  16. I do hear you TonyE, the language barrier is frustating on both sides of the fence!! I have dealt with the 'age' barrier recently due to job changes, I just ended up thinkin 'suck it up' and young recruiters were avoided.. But reading your heiracrhy issues, mines miniscule!!
  17. cheers Tak, funny thing is, Bill Shorten was at the ceremony last year said the 'normal' stuff etc. Out of 25 ish people there was one BROWN and another 'english' sounding surname, the rest was 'world names'
  18. I may have made the Japanese sound worse than they were - apart from our Korean guy, there was never any overt prejudice, just an unspoken assumption that anything Japanese was always going to be superior.

    I forgot to add women (any nationality) - they come marginally above Koreans

    I actually once did a paper back in the 80's on the issue of communications for an IT conference. We had to standardise and define things you normally wouldn't. The Japanese means of abbreviation could be interesting - we usually abbreviate by leaving out the vowels or using the first few letters - e.g. cnt for count or sys for system, Japanese/English abbreviations could be interesting.

    One of the funniest things I've seen was watching an Australian programmer (female) trying to explain to a Japanese engineer why you should not abbreviate the word "count" in a Fortran program by leaving out the o. :)
  19. A previous employer of mine was racist against Indians. He wouldn't let me hire them. This was due to the fact that every Indian he'd hired previously (2 or 3 only) had caused him a lot of trouble (by trouble, I mean they wanted more money... biggest sin possible with that boss). Having said that, our team was VERY multicultural. Russian, Chinese, Sri Lankan etc. He much preferred to hire these kinds of people, because they would work for less money. The only real stipulation was they they could communicate within the team and with customers if required. I interviewed many people who unfortunately would've been great, but were extremely hard to understand. Even that wasn't too bad, but if they couldn't understand you, and you had to repeat a question numerous times, it was an instant red flag (I'm talking about repeating yourself because they don't understand you, not because they didn't get the question etc).
    In general tho, I'd have to say I disagree. Most places I've worked are open to any applications, and my current job has me going to all sorts of IT customers. All of them seem to have a mix of races.
  20. I work in Finance, we have a South African (white one), an Asian, an Italian, an American and 3 that are 2nd generation or more Aussie.

    Our IT is outsourced (due to requiring different specialities for the different systems that we run) however to an Australian company that is in Melbourne CBD, and have to say have never had anyone from there who was not a native English speaker - Poms, Aussies & South Africans. We use MACs so don't know if that makes a difference.