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New Zealand's Indians feel discriminated at work

1 October 2006


New Zealand's Indians feel discriminated at work

AUCKLAND - An Indian in New Zealand is likely to be in an administrative/physical job, be under-paid, likely to have never been promoted, and faced job discrimination up to 10 times or more.

These are the findings of a job survey conducted by The Global Indian, a leading Indian magazine in New Zealand. Almost two in three Indians (63%) felt they have been discriminated in recruitment process or at work.

The nationwide survey also revealed that three in four (72%) Indians felt their career has been adversely affected after migrating to New Zealand.

Every second Indian in New Zealand is likely to be earning less than $50,000 a year, while every third Indian is employed in physical, administrative, secretarial, or customer service role.

One in two Indians said they have never been promoted in a job in New Zealand. Two in three Indians feel that their salary is not in line with their qualifications and skills, and that they are under-paid. One respondent said that he/she has not had a permanent job for the past 12 years.

Another has been unable to find employment: "I was head of department at Gaborone, capital of Botswana, Southern Africa. My qualifications were approved with the subject of working with a New Zealand registered architect for 48 weeks but no architect wants to keep me even for free.

"I have worked with the Christchurch City Council for free for five months but when (the) job was advertised, I was ignored. I have studied full time Diploma in Computer Aided Design from Christchurch Polytechnic but still (there are) no signs of employment."

Referring to the "No Kiwi Experience" reason, which most recruitment consultants cite, one respondent said, "Effectively we have a situation of not being allowed to go into water until you know how to swim."

For migrants with kids, the situation gets more complicated, as one respondent said, "I did not get one promotion in the last ten years. I am in a catch-22 situation because my kids are schooling in New Zealand. Now I am unable to go back to India as I have to wait to finish schooling of my kids."

Which explains this advice from another respondent, "Talented people with proven track record should be educated on the realities here and should be sincerely discouraged from planning a life in New Zealand before they burn their bridges back home."

However, the survey also highlighted a minority group in the Indian community who have fought against all odds to achieve their goals. "In the beginning, yes I felt my career was adversely affected. However, things have got better as the Kiwis became more aware that Indians could speak English and were hardworking, sincere and loyal," one respondent said.

"And thanks to us Indians who have proved to the doubtful Kiwis that we actually speak the Queen's English with good pronunciation, correct spelling and are not lazy speakers."

The respondents sited a need for employers, the immigration service, and migrants to develop solutions to address the issue. "(There is a need for) cross-cultural training and diversity management skills among management personnel (not HR departments alone)," one respondent said.

Another suggested that Indians should always follow up a job application with a phone call to make sure the people know that they can speak English well. According to one respondent, politicians or migrant centres have to talk to the business owners for equal opportunities.

And another elaborated: "Government machinery should encourage employers who employ migrants by giving carefully designed incentives. Government should prepare a migrant talent pool and continuously monitor the utilisation of migrant talent.

"Indian organisations should have federations for economic development and career development of migrant Indians than for spiritual and social comfort."

Indians form the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, after Chinese. According to a Statistics New Zealand projection, Asians will be the largest growing ethnic group in New Zealand, expected to grow by a whopping 147 percent in just 14 years from now.

The survey was funded and co-authored by Sangeeta Anand, publisher of The Global Indian magazine, and Vaibhav Gangan, its managing editor.

To download full report, please visit: www.theglobalindian.co.nz


Established in 2004, Auckland-based Angan Publications Ltd are the publishers of The Global Indian magazine. The monthly publication is New Zealand's first magazine for the 100,000-strong Indian community. The electronic monthly magazine attracts over 50,000 readers every month from New Zealand and overseas.

The current issue of the magazine can be downloaded from: http://www.theglobalindian.co.nz/uploads/Oct06TGI.pdf

Visit our website: www.theglobalindian.co.nz


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