Discrimination of high degrees

race and graduate hiring in Malaysia

Hwok Aun Lee, Muhammed Abdul Khalid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper investigates racial discrimination in hiring fresh degree graduates in Malaysia through a field experiment. We send fictitious Malay and Chinese résumés to job advertisements, then analyse differentials in callback for interview attributable to racial identity, while controlling for applicant characteristics, employer profile and job requirements. We find that race matters much more than résumé quality, with Malays – Malaysia's majority group – significantly less likely to be called for interview. Other factors, particularly language proficiency of employees, language requirements of jobs and profile of employers, influence employer biases. Applicants fluent in Chinese fare better, and Chinese-controlled and foreign-controlled companies are more likely to favour Chinese résumés, indicating that cultural compatibility explains part of the discrimination. Malay résumés tend to be perceived and prejudged adversely, and employers' attitudes towards public policy outcomes, particularly pertaining to education quality and employment opportunity in the public sector, also account for the observed racial disparities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-76
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of the Asia Pacific Economy
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

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hiring
Malaysia
employer
discrimination
racial disparity
racial identity
graduate
public attitude
applicant
public sector
job requirements
education
employment opportunity
interview
language
racism
pricing
public policy
employee
experiment

Keywords

  • discrimination
  • education
  • labour market
  • Malaysia
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Discrimination of high degrees : race and graduate hiring in Malaysia. / Lee, Hwok Aun; Abdul Khalid, Muhammed.

In: Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Vol. 21, No. 1, 02.01.2016, p. 53-76.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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