Industry experts Craig Harris and Charlotte Wibberley react to controversial EA job posting
A job advert for a senior Executive Assistant position has been accused of sexism and discrimination after requesting that the prospective employee be prepared to deal with ‘male banter’, a move that has been considered out-dated and shocking in a time of continued protests against sexism in the workplace.
The listing, posted onto Guardian Jobs but since taken down, advertised a position for a property investment client in Mayfair, hiring a senior EA and Investor Relations Associate for pay of up to £45k a year, plus bonuses. Despite being a mostly dry and ordinary applications, one requirement listed under ‘Skills and Personality’ was to be able to ‘deal with the male banter’ and be ‘sociable but not distracting’.
The wording has been considered particularly inappropriate given the recent #MeToo campaign on Twitter, raising awareness of institutionalised sexism, and experts believe the job post helps expose underlying discrimination, as well as a lack of respect for Personal and Executive Assistants.
“I can’t believe that in this day and age, especially with what we are reading in the media, that this job advertisement has been considered ok for release,” said EA Craig Harris from Shelter, the first male crowned PA of the year at the coveted SuperAchiever Awards. “There is no room in today’s society for discrimination and oppression of any kind.”
The news comes following a shocking exposé by the Financial Times of the Presidents Club, which revealed how deeply sexism, discrimination and harassment still run within the highest rungs of society.
“These so called “boys’ clubs” are a thing of the past and need to be stopped,” continued Harris. “We must all make it clear that this type of discrimination will not be tolerated.”
Following their own study last year, self-employment specialist Charlotte Wibberley revealed that one in six Virtual Assistants left their office positions because of workplace bullying, and more are likely to follow, especially as the pay gap for VAs continues to close.
“For me this highlights one of the reasons we have seen a huge increase in the number of PAs making the leap to running their own VA businesses,” Charlotte Wibberley, Founder of VIP VA told PA Life. “They are fed up with the sexism, undervaluing and underestimating that often occurs in their corporate roles and they want to break free of this to follow their career passions on their terms.
“Clearly there is work to be done here if companies want to retain their top PA talent.”