Employment in equality

What is Employment inequality? Discuss………………

Introduction

This is analysis of employment inequality in ESL business, a case study of English school located in Bangkok, Thailand. This paper gives background information of the school and reviews several literatures on the topic subject and addresses the effectiveness of various strategies to be used in addressing employment inequality. It then gives recommendations and implementation of the research.

Background information

This paper analyses employment inequality in an ESL business school that was established about 20years ago and offers many English courses to learners. Currently, the school employs both native and non-native English speaking teachers. However, even though, non native English speaking teachers are qualified, they studied English as their second language; this doesn’t really help them to get a better working opportunity in the teaching industry.

This is because most private schools prefer white native English speaking teachers to non native English speaking teachers, who are they send  to public schools. They however sometimes employ non native English speaking teachers, who besides having more qualification with a certificate in English as the second language, they are paid lower rate of salary as compared to native English speaking teachers.

Problem statement

Employment inequality in this school comes in different forms; firstly in terms of employment opportunities and secondly in remuneration of teachers. We find that non-native English speaking teachers are not given equal employment opportunities as native white English speaking teachers irrespective of their higher qualifications. However, where non-natives are considered for employment, they are paid less salary compared to their native counterparts.

This raises the problem of inequality in employment of teachers, which has made non native teachers unhappy with the working conditions of the school, which they consider as a racism promoting organization, hence the writing of this paper to address the problem.

Literature review

Study findings by Clark & Paran (2007) showed that private schools prefer native English teachers because of their teaching styles, and also the believe that they are more often better prepared, emphatic and knowledgeable about English. Books and learning materials used have outlook of native white teachers and this influence students, ( English as a second language, n. d).

A study by Fuad, (2010) found that most employers favour native over non native teachers, and uses race, accent and location of individuals as a priority before skills when hiring English teachers, this locks out non native teachers especially in online job advertisements. He calls these unethical and undemocratic employment methods.

A research by Ligget et al (2009) found that racial and social class has continued to favor and benefit white English speakers and whiteness is an ideal look for English language teacher in Brazil. Mahboob, (2009) further confirms the notion that NESTS (native English speaking teachers) are better teachers hence the reason for their preference in ELT(English language teaching).

According to Reis (2010), employment chances for NNETs are limited by race , accent and location, and in many cases, qualified NNEST are deemed by public, colleagues, students and social acquaintances to be less professionals than NEST counterparts.   Warson & Pojanapunya (2009) found mixed students’ attitudes towards NNESE and NEST English teachers.

Effectiveness of various strategies

Re-evaluate job descriptions

Re-evaluation of job descriptions will result in a considerable and permanent change in duties, responsibilities and requirements in teaching positions in the school.  The changes may take the form of additions to and deletion from current duties. However, for this strategy to be effective, the change in duties should be permanent and changes must constitute a considerable portion of the job, at least 25% of the job must be affected, (Request for Evaluation/Re-Evaluation of Jobs, n. d).

The level of education and experience needed in the new job descriptions is varied to include higher qualifications. This will give non- native teachers advantage because they have higher qualifications hence will reduce employment inequality in Thailand English teaching schools. New job descriptions will have to come up with new and specific teaching styles quite different from the current ones which give native white teachers unfair advantage over non native teachers, (Clark & Paran, 2007).

For English teaching, this will include changes in teaching materials and books to be used have to be relevant for the two groups and should have an outlook of native and non- native teachers hence making the two groups fairly influential to students.

 

Modify job advertisements to not specify race/country of birth

This strategy will help reduce discrimination, especially in online advertisements which demand that applicants should specify their race and country of birth while applying for teaching positions. A research conducted by Fuad (2010), highlights race, accent and location as the main discriminatory factors employed by many schools to perpetuate racial inequality in teaching employment.

This method will therefore help minimize discrimination in selection process because many non natives will be selected for interviews unlike in previous years, and this increases their chances of being hired. The evaluation method of this strategy will be determined by the number of interviewed non native applicants which is expected to rise significantly. This strategy addresses the problem of this study by removing barriers which are currently used to propagate employment inequality.

The strengths of these method lies in its simplicity in application, just removing restrictions previously used to bar non natives. However, the weakness of this strategy lies in transparency in selection process, which should be given to independent recruitment firm in order to realize its objectives.

 

Set up a new rate of salary, based on qualifications

This addresses the critical problem of this research, inequality in remuneration across the all races making it the most effective strategy of addressing research question. This is a direct strategy which will definitely work for this research because it involves standardization of salaries and can easily be assessed using figures obtained from salary and accounts department.

The strength of this method is its fairness to all workers, all employees  doing  the same job are paid equal renumeration. The weakness of this approach may be resistance from native teachers who may not be happy with this approach given the level of racial prejudice in the public, workplace and social acquaintances.

Develop recruitment process

This is essential in promoting transparency in recruitment process. However, for this process to work effectively it should engage independent recruitment firms at some levels of its employment and recruitment team should comprise both natives and non natives.  Outsourcing of independent recruitment firms is the best approach of addressing employment inequality between races in most schools.

This is because internal recruitment may incorporate officers with interests who may not be impartial hence not solving the research problem. On the contrary, independent firm will recruit on merit, giving more chances to non natives who appear to have better qualifications.

Conduct surveys to see feedbacks from students  

Feedback from students will clearly establish the performances of two races hence indirectly addressing the problem of study. Various reasons have been given to explain the preference of natives at the expense of non natives such as their high performances, (Mahboob, 2009) and teaching styles. This will be addressed using this strategy hence leaving no room to justify unfair racial discrimination in employments.

Strategy will be effective for it will indirectly address the research problem and the feedbacks will significantly contribute to maintaining status quo or discarding discrimination in employment. The strength of this strategy lies in the use of students, who are main players and customers of two groups of producers, native whites and non native teachers, and their satisfaction is the main issue of concern in this research.  However, students may be biased, since majorities are natives who are likely to favor their fellow native teachers  in the survey.

Research to find out the advantages of having non-native-English teachers for students and employ them more in a same rate

A research done by Warson & Pojanapunya (2009) indicated that most students prefer the two groups of teachers. Therefore a survey on students attitude is likely give information that will aid in removing employment inequality hence this strategy addresses the two main problem of this research, discrimination in hiring and remuneration of non native teachers. The findings are however subject to management approval, which weakens this approach in addressing the problems of employment inequality. Another weakness is biasness of the research findings, as students may give wrong information.

Conclusions and recommendations

Four appropriate strategies will be used by the school to promote employment equality. This are discussed below:

 Re-evaluate job descriptions: This strategy is appropriate because it capture the skills and individual qualifications of most non native teachers, which will drastically reduce the current high level of employment inequality. This method is meant to increase the number of non native teachers.

Modify job advertisements to not specify race/country of birth: This method is necessary for it will remove direct racial and locational barriers which are currently discriminative. The method is also easy to undertake and cost effective at the same time. It is aimed at increasing the level of non native employees in the schools.

Set up a new rate of salary, based on qualifications: this method is vey vital for it will eradicate inequality in salaries which unfair and unjustified. It is easy to evaluate, monitor and implement.

Conduct surveys to see feedbacks from students: The views of main stakeholders are necessary to enhance service delivery and performance of the school. In order to reduce the level of biasness, an independent research company will be used to conduct this survey. Their views are equally necessary in addressing problems of racial discrimination in employment.

Outsource independent recruitment agency: This is an efficient alternative to the development of internal recruitment process because it is efficient, transparent and accurate method of staff recruitment.

Implementation    Table 1. Change implementation table

Change  strategyResponsible TimeCosts (USD)
Re-evaluate job descriptions for teaching jobsExternal professional consultancy firm and human resource department3 months10, 000
Modify job advertisements to not specify race/country of birthBy company marketing team2 weeks2,000
Set up a new rate of salary, based on qualificationsHuman resource department2 months5,000
Conduct surveys to see feedbacks from studentsExternal research company, company R7D dept1 months10, 000
Outsource independent recruitment agencyBoard members (approval)

Human resource dept

3 months15,000

 

References

Clark, E & Paran, A (2007), ‘The Employability of non-native-speaker Teachers of EFL: A UK Survey’, System, vol.35 (4), p.407-430. Available from: Science direct [9 March 2012].

English as a second language, (n. d). [online]. Available at http://www.rong-chang.com (Accessed on 28th April,2012).

Fuad, A. (2010), All teachers are equal, but some teachers are more equal than others: Trend analysis of Job Advertisement in English Language Teaching. Available from http://umd.academia.edu

Ligget, T, Grant, RA, Lee, I, Taylor-Mendes, C & Marx S 2009, ‘Interrogating Whiteness?’ in Race, Culture, and Identities in Second Language Education   Routledge, New York.

Reis, DS 2010, ‘“I’m not Alone” Empowering Non-native English-speaking teachers to challenge the native speaker myth’ in Research on Second Language Teacher Education, eds KE Johnson & PR Golombek, Routledge, New York, pp.31-49.

Request for Evaluation/Re-Evaluation of Jobs. (n. d). [ online] available at http://www.pvamu.edu. (Accessed on 28th April,2012).

 

Watson, TR & Pojanapunya, P 2009, ‘Implicit attitudes towards native and non-native speaking teachers’, System, vol.37 (11), p.23-33. Available from: Sciencedirect [8 March 2012].


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