Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ekalavya Applies for a Job!!

Let's suppose the modern-day Ekalavya is able to convince the Dronacharyas, manages to get into a decent educational institution, does well in his/her study (or as well as the modern-day Pandavas)...

Or alternatively, the Swaminomics' suggestion that "creating quality schools and colleges for dalits and tribals would be a far better form of affirmative action than job reservation in the private sector", gets implemented, and so Ekalavya goes through this special institution to prepare him/her to join the mainstream society with adequate "merit"...

...and then applies for a job!

Chances are that s/he will find that the world has still not changed - not for him/her.

These are the findings of a recent study, which was done by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) and Princeton University:

"The researchers filed 4,808 applications for 548 jobs advertised in English newspapers over 66 weeks starting October 2005. Applications by equally-qualified males from higher upper castes, Dalits and Muslims were filed for each vacancy and the response from the corporate sector was shocking.

While all higher upper caste candidates were called for interviews for a particular job vacancy, only 67% Dalits and 33% Muslims were contacted."


The study, original paper published in The Economic & Political Weekly (Oct 13, 2007) mentions the methodology:

"The research staff prepared sets of three matched application letters and résumés (in English) for each type of job. These applications had identical educational qualifications and experience. All the résumés and cover letters presented strong applicants for the job opening: they had suitable degrees from reputable universities...

The only aspect of family background that was communicated in these applications was the applicant’s name, yet this was enough to generate a different pattern of responses to applications from Muslims and dalits, compared to high caste Hindu names. These were all highly-educated and appropriately qualified applicants attempting to enter the modern private sector, yet even in this sector, caste and religion proved influential in determining ones job chances...
These discriminatory outcomes occurred at the very first stage of the process that Indian university graduates go through to apply for a job...."


Another recent study by S Madheswaran and Paul Attwell - Cast Discrimination in Indian Urban Labour Market (Economic & Political Weekly, Oct 13 2007) - concluded:

"...(a) discrimination causes 15 per cent lower wages for SC/STs as compared to equally qualified others; (b) SC/ST workers are discriminated against both in the public and private sectors, but the discrimination effect is much larger in the private sector; (c) discrimination accounts for a large part of the gross earnings difference between the two social groups in the regular salaried urban labour market, with occupational discrimination – unequal access to jobs – being considerably more important than wage discrimination – unequal pay in the same job..."

So what is the future for Ekalavya?

Pretty bleak, actually! - because even in the unlikely scenario of enforced job reservations in private sector, Swaminomics recommends the tactics for "Getting Around Job Quota", e.g.,:

"Faced with job quotas, companies could stop outsourcing and resume in-house operations. They can hire dalits and tribals as sweepers, canteen workers, drivers, chowkidars and so on.... They can open holiday homes for officers in the hills, employing tribals. This will enable them to fulfil job quotas without affecting management or factory quality."

This, perhaps, also represents the distorted definition of Enlightened Self-Interest in a divided society.

5 comments:

JC said...

Hmm...Here is another study that concludes that reservations in higher education are ineffective (in US), but it gives different reasons.

Santhosh said...

I'm shocked. My intuition told me that in a growing economy, such discrimination would be reducing due to the fact that Indian names are not that easily segregated based on caste identities. Looks like I was completely wrong. Folks at Princeton did a similar study on discrimination of African American in the US, with similar results.

Asahmat said...

There could be another study conducted by some anti reservation group which could show there is not many among lower casts who qualify for the job.
While the study informs us that they produced similar kind of applications , they don't actually show them. So say if I put percentage of a lower class applicant less than that of a higher caste applicant who would be called for an interview?
I don't want to comment on the motives of the study. They might be genuine , but why are they not showing the applications & resume's they have sent?

Madhukar said...

@JC
thanks for the link... have downloaded the study. But is a long paper... will take time to go through it. I guess, the reasons for discimination differ across societies - but discrimination happens, nevertheless..

@Santhosh
thanks... in response to your mail about such discrimination existing inspite of the economic development: one, what we have is not economic development, but economic growth (the two are not same); and two, discrimination is a culural/social phenomenon, and I dont think that economic growth will automatically take care of it.

@Asahamat!
no comments!... if you have chosen a name which means "one who does not agree", I guess I will have to say that "caste-based discrimination does not happen for you to point out that it does happen!! :0)

Manikandan said...

Hi .nice blog.I need to find jobs .can anybody send links of that job websites....
Thank you.....