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“Beyond Your Control” : Job-Hunter Reportedly Denied Spot At Trade Show Due To Being A “Cisgendered, Straight, White, Male”

Jack Hadfield

A job-hunter was reportedly denied a spot at a major employment fair after organizers determined he was ineligible to attend to due to factors that were “beyond his control,” such as his race and gender.

The incident first came to light this week after Andrea Mew, a writer for the Independent Women’s Forum and Evie, uploaded a screenshot of an email to her X account that had been sent to one of her close friends. Mew wrote that he was a “straight, white man in his twenties, and he’s been SOL on a job hunt for MONTHS.”

Explaining that her friend had applied for a “program at an upcoming trade show,” Mew revealed he was rejected, and the reasons listed in the email Mew posted have sparked outrage amongst users on social media.

“Unfortunately, we just don’t have space for you this year,” the email read. The Publica was provided a full copy of the message and verified it as legitimate, though will be withholding details in order to protect the privacy of the individual involved.

“We had well more than twice as many applicants as available spots, plus an unusually high number (92%) of people chosen from the priority application round accepted the invitation – meaning, we were barely able to scratch the waiting list or pull in people from the final application round at all.”

The email goes on to state that “hard decisions” about who was allowed to attend the fair had to be made based on “balancing factors,” such as experience, the number of people from each school, and concerningly, “gender,” among other factors beyond an individual’s control.

Speaking to The Publica, the recipient of the email explained that he had been applying for jobs for over four months, including “jobs well below what [he] should be making based on [his] past experience.” But the majority of the postings didn’t write back to him, causing him to suspect that many of the positions were prioritizing applicants based on a diversity quota.

While he admits he wouldn’t be able to verify his suspicions, he argued it was “entirely reasonable” to expect that the reasons implied by the trade show as being “beyond” his “control” had to do with his gender and race.

“Being a cisgendered, straight, white, male with he/him pronouns doesn’t do you any favors at a time when businesses are compelled to tout their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at every opportunity,” the man, who asked to be kept anonymous, said.

In a follow-up email seen by The Publica, the trade show revealed that most of their participants had been selected from the “priority applicant group.” Though those waitlisted may get a spot, the decision would be based not only gender, but also “class,” and “background.” It is unclear if the latter category referred to an applicant’s racial or ethnic identity.

Speaking to The Publica, the anonymous job-hunter condemned affirmative action, calling it “an all-around awful practice,” and asserting that applicants should be selected based on merit, not race or gender.

“I’m an advocate for free markets and companies being allowed to hire whomever they want based on the merits of that person’s candidacy,” he said. “But when corporate America agrees to make race and sex and other mere demographic coincidences that say nothing about one’s work ethic a deciding factor in whether or not opportunities are open for that person – factors which I did not choose prior to being born and cannot change – that’s a reflection that we live in a truly racist and sexist society.”

One recent example of systemic hiring bias that went viral was two job openings at the Cheriton School of Computer Science at Canada’s University of Waterloo.

The first position, for “all areas of artificial intelligence,” was only open to “qualified individuals who self-identify as women, transgender, gender-fluid, non-binary, or Two-spirit.” The second position for “all areas of computer science” was only open to  “qualified individuals who self-identify as a member of a racialized minority.”

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Jack Hadfield

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