Friday, March 10, 2006

Anonymous. Cherche le travail.

The celebrated Canadian author Douglas Copeland defines the notion of McJobs as a "crap underpaid job often seen as a great opportunity by people who've never held one". If that's what you're after, no doubt the UK is 'the' place. As much casual, minimum wage-strapped employment as you want, just take your pick. But in the age of decent jobs becoming an increasing commodity, France came up with an approach that seems nothing short of revolutionary. Yesterday, a White Paper was given the go-ahead by the French Senate, introducing a scheme based on anonymous application forms and CVs. Under the new legislation, people won't have to jot down their name, address, age and sex when they're looking for work as all that matters will be experience, education and skills. Photos also won't be required and the only contacts will be e-mail address and phone number.

In the UK, so-called equal opportunities is increasingly a formula, a rigid matter of form, more likely to increase recriminations based on dubious positive discrimination schemes. The French approach appears the fairest way forward. It nips prejudice in the bud as it's based on surveys confirming that a foreign name, certain physical traits (i.e. obesity, age or specific notions of attractiveness) or a person's place of living make your job search a serious uphill or downhill task according to circumstances. With the new legislation, French employers won't have a clue about your looks or ethnicity at least until the interview stage. Selection will be more likely to be based on merits. Perhaps the buffs in human resources may wish to take a peek south of the Channel?

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