Global technology company Mastercard has recently advertise a job vacancy on its LinkedIn page, seeking for an individual to fill the Regional Director position under the company’s Open Banking Product Management team. According to the job advertisement, the vacancy was advertise about two weeks ago.
If we were to look through the position, we can see that this a new and important role as it enables “Mastercard to establish banking presence outside of the EEA (European Economic Area)”.
Given that this is a Regional Director position, Mastercard is seeking for an individual to design and execute the right strategy for “establishing open banking connectivity in key markets within the region” as well as “driving the localisation and deployment of selected global Mastercard Open Banking Solutions” – again within the region.
If that’s not all, other job requirements for this position include engaging with potential customers and partners within the region as well as liaise with internal colleagues and third party suppliers. The point to note here is that the job description implies that the job role heavily focuses in this region.
While everything listed under the job requirements seem appropriate for the position, however the company also seeks someone who has a good grasp in the Hindi language, in addition to being fluent in English.
Given that this position is based in Singapore, it is rather puzzling for Mastercard to look for someone who can speak Hindi as well.
Responding to TOC’s queries, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) said that it is looking into the matter and is in the process of obtaining more details from the company.
“All employers must abide by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) when recruiting for Singapore-based jobs,” it said, adding that it takes discrimination practices very seriously.
“According to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, if a job entails proficiency in a particular language, other than English, employers have to justify the need for the requirement in the advertisement. This will ensure that the job requirements are well understood, expand the range of eligible candidates, and avoid negative perception of the employer concerned,” a TAFEP spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added, “TAFEP takes a serious view of discriminatory practices, and will refer any breaches to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for appropriate actions to be taken against the employer”.
At the time of writing, TOC has reached out to MOM and Mastercard on this matter and is yet to receive a response. However, we have updated the article to include their response below.
This is not the first time such discriminatory practice has been highlighted in Singapore. Recently, TOC reported a case in which a local company advertised a vacancy on Government job-matching portal, MyCareerFuture.sg, seeking for candidate who is either Westerner or European to fill a position based in Singapore.
For those who are not aware, MyCareerFuture.sg is a job portal initiated by the Government to provide Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents with a fast and smart job search service to match them with suitable jobs, based on their skills and competencies.
However, it allowed Ramo Industries—a Singapore-based firm that offers engineering, procurement and construction services—advertise on its portal for a Business Development Manager.
[Update: 16 September, 7.43pm]
Responding to TOC’s queries, Mastercard shared some context and rationale regarding the wording of the job posting.
“Mastercard is deploying open banking resources across the globe, including in Singapore, which is where the advertised role is based. This is to allow the role holder to work closely alongside our regional products and innovation team. The scope of the advertised role is also regional, with a focus on the Singapore, India, Hong Kong and Korea markets. Hindi as a language was included in the job description because India is one of the focus markets for the role, representing one of our largest market opportunities in open banking.
“Therefore, having additional language skills suited to that market would be beneficial. We’d like to emphasize that proficiency in Hindi was only mentioned as ‘desirable’, and that it is not a determining criteria for the role.
“In the spirit of fair employment opportunities that Mastercard is fully committed to observing, we take the point that the job description as it was worded could lead to ambiguity regarding the scope and job requirements. In this case, we have decided to remove the reference to Hindi (as it is not material to the hiring criteria) and have also updated the job description to provide more clarity around why the role is based in Singapore and the markets that it is intended to service.
“For future job postings, the reasons for language proficiency, if any, will be made clear. Please find a link to the updated job posting here.”
[Update: 17 September, 10.13am]
Responding to TOC’s queries, MOM stated that TAFEP has responded to TOC regarding this matter, adding that TAFEP will refer to MOM if there are any breaches.
“We note that The Online Citizen(TOC) has approached the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices(TAFEP) on the same issue on 11 September 2020 and TAFEP has issued a reply on 14 September 2020.
“As mentioned in TAFEP’s reply, TAFEP is looking into the case and will refer any breaches of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices to MOM.”