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How is technology helping reduce discrimination in hiring?

Ramandeep Arora
13th Jun 2018
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Discrimination in hiring in any industry might sound like a completely unheard-of scenario but unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality in present times. There is wide-scale discrimination done in hiring across different sectors of the industry in India, be it on the basis of degree or college or even academic performances. This kind of practice is more a result of a traditional and conservative way of hiring where companies are not ready to accept changes. There should only be one quantifier based on which a candidate should be selected or rejected for hiring – skills.

This is a reality which is changing only because of one thing i.e. technology. Technology has become an integral part of our lives and has made it better in a number of ways. Whatever aspect of life we see, we will find technology making it better in one way or another. The influence of technology has reached even hiring and HR practices, changing the ways companies hire.

Let me tell you about how this is changing in the present time with the real story of a guy named Ravikant Singh. Ravikant completed his Bachelors in Commerce from Mumbai University in 2013, after which he started working at Atos in Change and Incident Management. But this did not satisfy him. He had an inclination towards Data Science, Analytics, ML, etc., but owing to his non-technical degree, he was always considered ineligible for IT jobs. Yet he got hired as a Machine Learning Expert at Powerweave, an emerging software company. It would have been an unheard-of situation five years ago, to even consider any professional from a non- IT background for such a role.

Degree is no longer a priority for companies hiring

Ravikant too tried to get hired in Analytics and Data Science domains but his non-IT Degree was a big hindrance towards it. However, in recent times, there has been a jump in hiring in IT jobs of professionals from a non-IT background. The impetus given to specific degrees such as Computer Science and Information Technology for the hiring of specific job-roles in IT sector has diminished. This has been possible due to students from non-IT backgrounds upskilling themselves on par with IT or CSE graduates. Companies want skilled candidates who can work with proficiency in technologies they are working with rather than a candidate with the relevant degree but no skills in the technologies on which the companies are working.

Skills play a bigger role for hiring

Earlier, hiring used to be very specific i.e. on the basis of academic performances. Marks of Class X, Class XII, and graduation would be quantifiers for shortlisting candidates. Thus this process itself started with a prejudice towards academic performances of candidates. This trend has now been challenged by evolving technologies and companies adapting these technologies. Ravikant skilled himself with technologies requisite to get hired in Analytics and Data science domains, including skills in R, Python, Machine Learning, Predictive Analysis, etc. This helped him become on par in terms of skills with his counterparts from the IT background.

If you can prove your skills, you are valued more; thus one can see a lot of companies organizing or participating in hackathons/coding competitions for hiring.

Colleges no longer give an edge in hiring

For the longest time, elite colleges like IITs and even NITs were where all companies flocked to hire the best talent. The students from these colleges too enjoyed this exclusivity when they know that companies want them just because of their college brand name. But in recent years, we have seen students from Tier-II or Tier-III colleges too get plump job offers from top companies. This has been possible due to their skills and them showcasing their talent in the form of projects and portfolios. Now candidates can upload their work on platforms such as Github, Bitbucket, Codepen, etc. which are used to showcase one’s talent, skills, and projects, thereby opening new avenues for job opportunities. This again has been made possible with the help of technology.

Yet this scenario is changing slowly, and only with the sheer dedication of students like Ravikant who are breaking biases and discrimination. Students and even professionals like Ravikant are now upskilling themselves in the latest technologies making them employable. Various organizations are working towards skill development of students, freshers, and professionals and crusading against the predisposed biases and discrimination present in hiring on the basis of degree, colleges, etc. Thus there is a need of right technology players in the market to ease the hiring process for companies as well as candidates, making it fair and unbiased and built solely on the basis of skills.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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