Washington, July 8 : American companies are becoming a role model across the world by promoting fair hiring practices while recruiting people, according to a University of Illinois labour expert.
John Lawler, a professor in the U. of I. Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations said that American companies are emulated these days by companies all over the world for their fair hiring practices.
"So I think to the extent they do these sorts of things, they create a very positive model that's going to have an impact internationally," he added.
In the study, professors Cindy Wu of Baylor University and Xiang Yi of Western Illinois University examined recruitment ads published by multinational corporations seeking management and professional workers in Taiwan and Thailand from 1993 to 1999, when neither country had laws against gender and age discrimination.
The researchers said that gender and age discrimination in the ads generally reflected the hiring practices of the corporations' home countries, not the laws and cultures of the two Asian nations.
"Only about 10 percent of ads placed by U.S.-based companies contained gender discrimination, compared with 24 percent for European-based firms and 47 percent for Asian corporations, most headquartered in Japan," said Lawler.
Age discrimination was also more prevalent among 12 percent of hiring ads published by American-based companies, 30 percent by European-based corporations and more than 50 percent by Asian firms.
Lawler said the findings indicate that companies typically follow their home-country hiring standards when they do business on foreign soil.
U.S. firms are particularly sensitive to gender bias, he says, operating under laws that have banned sex-based discrimination since the Civil Rights Act was passed nearly 50 years ago. Laws in Europe and Asia are generally not as stringent or strictly enforced, he said.
Similarly, the findings mirror comparatively lower legal standards for age discrimination, both in the U.S. and around the world, Lawler said.
"I think they worry about the potential for negative publicity," he said. "If discrimination overseas comes to light, their behavior internationally can cause a backlash at home."
Lawler says he expected U.S. companies would fare better than their European and Asian counterparts, but was surprised by the scope of their edge.
"I think it speaks well of American companies in their international operations. They can be seen as a model, and that can have an impact on host nations as they become more economically developed," he said.
The findings will appear in the Journal of International Business Studies.