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I’m two weeks into the semester and I have been productive. I’ve attended 8 career-related events in the span of one week. The one thing I can conclude from all of these events is that the world is immensely competitive. After completing my masters degree, I hope to be able to work in the UK. I know it will be difficult, especially now that the UK government is doing their best to reduce immigration. The UK currency isn’t doing very well either. Despite that, I am still trying my best to stay in the UK after I graduate.

When I attended all these events by UK companies, I noticed a stark difference in their recruitment process compared to Malaysia and Singapore. In UK, people don’t generally put their pictures on their CV to avoid discrimination. On Tuesday morning, I went for a talk on ‘Managing Your Digital Identity’ and the person giving the talk stated that there is no need for a picture in CVs, even for your LinkedIn profile (although that will give you more views). However, when I attended a talk by Contact Singapore in the evening, it was stressed that having a picture on your LinkedIn profile is important.

Another thing I really like about the recruitment process in UK is that they do not put as much weight on the schools or universities you attended. Deloitte, for example, uses a school and university-blind approach in order to avoid bias. In Singapore, they have this thing called a Work Holiday Programme which basically allows you to work and/or holiday in Singapore for 6 months. However, this is only applicable to people in certain countries and those currently attending or attended the Top 200 universities in the world. I find this really unfair for students that have worked just as hard and achieved the same grades as someone from a top 200 university. Some people may not be as privileged as others but they should still be awarded the same opportunities.

On the same note, I was signing up to create an account on a Singapore job search website  and I had to select my university. The dropdown menu only provided the names of the top 10 universities and ‘Other'(I tried to look for the link to insert it here, but unfortunately it is lost in the abyss). I’m currently studying an MSc in Behavioural and Economic Science at ‘Other’. Of course, Singapore has a right to want the best of the best for their country. After all, they didn’t get to where they are today by hiring substandard individuals. However, a system like that does not encourage diversity at all.

Malaysia, on the other hand, implements a policy that favours the Bumiputras (ethnic Malays and natives of Sabah/Sarawak). For instance, companies have to hire a certain quota of Bumiputras, a certain amount of houses have to be reserved for Bumiputras and so on. This makes me, a Chinese Malaysian, feel very unwelcome and discriminated against in my home country. I know that with the UK’s current stance on immigration I might experience discrimination to a greater degree here, but at least it will be less infuriating when it’s not coming from the people in my own country.

I know what started off as a post about employment has ended up being a post about discrimination but I think it’s really important to create equal opportunities for everyone. Companies might be missing out on someone that could really make a huge difference for them. If everyone gets a fair chance, there will be more room for progress and better results will be achieved.

That being said, the road to employment will definitely be a journey of discovery and frustration for me.