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Can entering your education years be discriminatory?

browersr
Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
21 of 37

@Tiffany S wrote:

@Scott B wrote:

I do not believe entering years is that important especially in freelancing. 


 Doesn't that depend on the service you're offering, though? We have many people on Upwork offering CPA services, paralegal services, even attorneys. I'm sure having the appropriate background is important to those clients. I'm not even offering legal services, but my law degree is relevant to the attorneys I ghostwrite for...it gives them a degree of confidence in the legal accuracy and regulatory compliance of the content I create for them.


I do not believe we are talking the same thing.  I did NOT suggest that the degree isn't important.  I suggested that the years attended were not that important.  I also want to be clear, although you didn't say it, that this is for a degree and not credentialing.  If there are credentials that have to be maintained than years are important to indicate that the credential is still valid.  Otherwise that you are an attorney is important.  That you are an attorney who graduated in 1979, 1995, 2010, etc. I believe would be less important to put in your profile.  

mwiggenhorn
Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
22 of 37

I had to look at my profile to see if it showed the years.  It does.  Since my profile picture shows my very white hair, I really don't care.  The more important educational dates show when and where I got my paralegal certificate which serves to support my 23+ years as a paralegal.

 

If they think I'm too old, they don't have to hire me.  Their loss, not mine.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
23 of 37

@Scott B wrote:

Otherwise that you are an attorney is important.  That you are an attorney who graduated in 1979, 1995, 2010, etc. I believe would be less important to put in your profile.  

 I mostly agree with this, though I would expect that some would care if a person had 20 years experience versus having graduated one month ago. That's covered by work experience, though, so not necessarily critical.

 

Traditionally, those dates are included to allow for verification. I'm not sure whether that's relevant here. But, it's worth noting that it's standard practice to request them in the full-time employment game, where (in the U.S., at least) there are laws prohibiting certain types of age discrimination. Those hiring independent contractors are not subject to those restrictions and are free (in most U.S. states) to make discriminatory decisions in a wide range of areas that would be prohibited in employment. With that in mind, I'm not sure we even have a valid basis for hiding this information to avoid "discrimination"--though Upwork apparently frowns on age-based selection of contractors, it's perfectly legal in most states.

charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
24 of 37

The unfortunate answer is that discrimination does happen here. Usually it is subtle, but this morning I actually found a listing flatly saying "do not apply if you are over 50". This is actually against TOS and it has been reported, but most clients are not going to be so foolish as to spell it out. They will still make judgments. We all do.

 

This happens to the very young as well.

 

Seems to me that there are a few things to consider:

 

1. Can the client figure out how old I am anyway from my picture or the number of years I say I have been working? If so, what you put for education becomes less relevant.

 

2. Is the education important enough that omitting it to try to hide your age would be worse than leaving it there?

 

3. Is it serving a real purpose in the profile?

 

In your case, Suzanne, you mention having 20+ years of experience, so immediately people know you are likely at least in your 40s, maybe 50s. But your high school dates imply that you are in your 60s, and you are concerned about that.

 

Frankly, I think the concern is warranted. I am not saying that clients SHOULD discriminate on that basis, just that I think some do, and so there's reason to be concerned.

 

So, what is the listing of your high school dates accomplishing in your profile? As far as I can see, absolutely nothing.

 

There is no information provided that would impress a potential employer, just the name of the school and the dates. But clients assume everyone in a developed country has finished high school anyway.

 

Furthermore, listing high school but not college immediately tells a client "this person doesn't have a college degree" -- which is likely not relevant at all to what you can do for them, but provides another basis for which to eliminate you compared to a similar candidate who has one.

 

In this case, IMO, having your education listing is doing more harm than good. I'd remove it.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
25 of 37

@Charles K wrote:

The unfortunate answer is that discrimination does happen here. Usually it is subtle, but this morning I actually found a listing flatly saying "do not apply if you are over 50". This is actually against TOS and it has been reported, but most clients are not going to be so foolish as to spell it out. They will still make judgments. We all do.

 

I'm curious as to why this is presumed to be "unfortunate." What do you see as the upside to forcing either clients or freelancers to work with someone they would prefer not to work with? I don't see that as a likely basis for building a strong, ongoing relationship, or even for a smooth working relationship and client satisfaction on an isolated project.

charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
26 of 37

@Tiffany S wrote:
I'm curious as to why this is presumed to be "unfortunate." What do you see as the upside to forcing either clients or freelancers to work with someone they would prefer not to work with? I don't see that as a likely basis for building a strong, ongoing relationship, or even for a smooth working relationship and client satisfaction on an isolated project.

First, I think it worth pointing out that I never suggested anyone be "forced" to do anything. Nor did I suggest that anyone be dishonest or deceptive.

 

But a profile, like a resume, is a form of advertising, and that means putting your best foot forward. If there's something in there that isn't making you more likely to be hired, or worse, making you less likely, I think you should remove it.

 

I believe it is unfortunate when someone decides not to do business with someone based on prejudgments that actually have no bearing on whether or not the person would be good to do business with. Regardless of the form of business or the prejudgment. It means that bias is taking the place of reason to the likely detriment of at least one party, and possibly all concerned. I'm not sure what I can possibly say to explain further; if you disagree, you disagree.

 

Is this unfortunate? I believe so. YMMV.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
27 of 37

@Charles K wrote:

 

I believe it is unfortunate when someone decides not to do business with someone based on prejudgments that actually have no bearing on whether or not the person would be good to do business with. Regardless of the form of business or the prejudgment. It means that bias is taking the place of reason to the likely detriment of at least one party, and possibly all concerned. I'm not sure what I can possibly say to explain further; if you disagree, you disagree.


 Why is it unfortunate? You have to make executive calls on people over the Internet. You judge them every day and just don't want to admit it.

 

Such snowflake stuff. It's OK to judge people when you need to do business with them. That's how you avoid problems.

charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
28 of 37

@Jennifer M wrote:
Why is it unfortunate? You have to make executive calls on people over the Internet. You judge them every day and just don't want to admit it.

 


I'm not sure why you would say I "don't want to admit it" when I explicitly admitted it in a previous post in this thread.

 

It is precisely for this reason that I think people should leave off their profiles anything that reduces their chances of being hired. People are free to judge, and other people are free to omit information that will prevent them from being judged to their detriment.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
29 of 37

Charles K wrote:

I'm not sure why you would say I "don't want to admit it" when I explicitly admitted it in a previous post in this thread.

 

It is precisely for this reason that I think people should leave off their profiles anything that reduces their chances of being hired. People are free to judge, and other people are free to omit information that will prevent them from being judged to their detriment.


 Then I misunderstood what you wrote. I've been modded for saying it, but you have to judge people. This isn't a situation where you have an HR department protecting you or you don't get along with some guy in the office and you can just ignore him. You gotta work with these people. I'd really rather someone be able to post "don't want to work with women" rather than him being forced to keep it to himself and me waste my time. I'm not a delicate little snowflake though. I'd think he's a butt but then I can just move on. 

 

But the snowflakes get all uppity when someone posts a job that says "no indians" or "US only" and shoot themselves in the foot when Upwork takes it down *edited* So, since people are forced to pretend like everyone is welcome, I gotta pick up on signals from a chat with a random stranger, which isn't easy.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
30 of 37

@Jennifer M wrote:

 

But the snowflakes get all uppity when someone posts a job that says "no indians" or "US only" and shoot themselves in the foot when Upwork takes it down *edited* So, since people are forced to pretend like everyone is welcome, I gotta pick up on signals from a chat with a random stranger, which isn't easy.


 And then freelancers waste time and connects bidding on jobs they won't even be considered for.

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