Not being a full-fledged smoker myself I must say I am partial to the occasional puff after a couple of craftys and if the Pow Wow smoking area is anything to go by then I am not alone. Remember that episode of Friends when Rachel misses out on important business decisions because she doesn’t join her boss for a smoke break? I’ve taken job briefs on that faithful deck! Not to say the smoking area is the new golf course but a cheeky cig does open doors at times.
I bought a vape over Christmas, which I’m still yet to commit to. This decision wasn’t motivated by the fact that I work in Britomart and I need to adhere to a certain aesthetic it was purely financially motivated. My particular brand of cigarettes is selling at a princely $29.99 which I’m sure you will agree is outrageous. With the advent of another year came yet another tax increase. New Zealand is only second to Australia in regards to price per packet with Vietnam being the smoking man’s mecca; the average pack costing $1.47 NZD. I’m not going to attempt to handle this particular political/socio-economic hot potato but I will say that smokers are an easy group to target.
In March 2011 the Government adopted the smoke-free 2025 goal for New Zealand pushing smokers further to the fringes of society. Then a couple of weeks ago I noticed an article that states employers are actually specifying in adverts “non-smokers only” or “non-smokers preferred.” A job search shows 15 New Zealand companies have this preference over the trades industry, transport and logistics, community services, and education sector. Vanessa Bainbridge is Employsures Employment Relations Expert. Ms. Bainbridge went on to explain that although it may be unfair it is not unlawful as there is no discrimination on grounds of race, age, sexual orientation, political opinion, marital status, disability and family responsibility.
In recruitment we are always very conscious to not discriminate and that the best person for the job is the person who can do the job best. Of course, we hear it sometimes “be great to get a lad” or “it’s a bit boy heavy at the moment” however I can confidently say that none of the agencies I have encountered hire on gender or any other basis other than merit, they would find themselves quickly ostracized by the industry if that was the case. Seek have rolled out a progressive new feature in their Talent Search section where you can choose to not see the persons name, it is with an aim to help reduce gender and ethnicity basis focusing on their experience and skills alone. Although I can’t see a lot of consultants using it as default as the risk of contracting candidate they could have potentially already spoken to however I do applaud their efforts to even the playing field and eliminate unconscious bias.
Although you do hear the occasional horror story New Zealand is, in my experience, a welcoming melting pot of different cultures. There is no perfect ‘type’ of recruiter; honesty, integrity, and empathy are not by-products of where you come from or your gender it is innate. Being a white British male in this market I rarely experience the barbs of discrimination apart from the occasional ‘whinging pom’ reference and I do feel we are moving in the right direction as an industry, now just to be more tolerant of smokers 🙂