1 in 5 employers reluctant to hire grads involved in pro-Palestine protests

'It would be prudent for both employers and job seekers to keep politics out of the hiring process,' says expert

1 in 5 employers reluctant to hire grads involved in pro-Palestine protests

One in five business leaders have reservations about hiring recent graduates who participated in pro-Palestine protests.

This is according to a new survey from Intelligent.com, which polled 1,268 business leaders in the United States to determine their attitudes about hiring recent graduates in the last five years.

It found that 22% are reluctant to hire graduates who participated in pro-Palestine protests, while 21% prefer hiring these protestors, and 57% remain neutral.

Among the top reasons cited by those with reservations are these employees are too confrontational (63%) and too political (59%).

"Employers seem to be worried about distractions from their company's business productivity goals and potential disruptions if they bring in outspoken employees fresh out of the college campus protest cultural environment," said Huy Nguyen, chief education and career development advisor, in a statement.

On the other hand, those who prefer hiring participants of pro-Palestine protests cited these individuals' willingness to speak up as top reason (73%).

They also attributed it to the protesters' strong values (72%) and that they agree with their political beliefs (65%).

Hiring protesters at work

To find out if job candidates have participated in the pro-Palestine protests, six in 10 business leaders said they have asked recent graduates during the interview process.

Nguyen said the findings highlight the "unfortunate reality" where political issues, social activism, and divisiveness are spilling over to workplaces.

"As political polarization intensifies, companies appear more likely to make biased judgments about recent graduates based on ideologies or personal behaviours, like protesting or social media activities," he said.

But this trend raises the risk of having toxic work environments, as well as legal ramifications for employers being discriminatory based on political beliefs.

"It would be prudent for both employers and job seekers to keep politics out of the hiring process," Nguyen said.

"Focusing on a candidate's qualifications, demonstrable skills, and personal merit is the best way to consider how well someone might succeed in the given role they are applying for."

Google faces protests

His advice came as employers face the challenge of navigating around the ongoing conflict. Google was rocked last month with protests carried out by its own employees who are opposing the company’s reported contracts with the Israeli government and military.

The protests have led to the termination of those involved, who filed a case to the US National Labour Relations Board.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai slammed the protest in a blog post following the incident.

"Ultimately, we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: this is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts co-workers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics," Pichai said.

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