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Seeking introverted rural talent: Nanjing company's unusual requirements spark debate

By Li Hongyang | | Updated: 2023-12-11 21:58
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A job fair for college graduates is held in Shanghai on Oct 16, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

A company in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, has ignited controversy after a job posting surfaced requiring applicants for a foreign trade assistant position to have an introverted personality and come from a rural background.

The job advertisement, discovered by a journalist from Jimu News on Dec 7, outlined basic responsibilities of completing foreign trade orders and assisting superiors with daily tasks. However, it also listed specific traits desired in candidates, including meticulous attention to detail, an introverted personality, a strong work ethic, a thirst for knowledge, and a rural upbringing.

The company spokesperson defended the unusual requirements, citing the evolving nature of the trade industry. "In the past, trade companies preferred outgoing individuals who could entertain clients at meals and drinks," she explained. "However, the business environment has changed, and now there is a greater demand for technical expertise. We require employees who are constantly learning and updating their knowledge, and those with introverted personalities are better suited for focusing on their work."

The spokesperson further justified the rural background requirement by claiming that individuals from such backgrounds are "more pragmatic and appreciative of opportunities." She elaborated that the company's previous experiences with urban candidates highlighted their tendency to be ambitious but lacking in focus.

Despite the company's rationale, online users have raised concerns about potential discrimination. In response, the spokesperson asserted that all the specified requirements are essential for the position. "Even if a candidate is exceptional in their skills, they will not be considered if they do not come from a rural background," she stated, adding that the company has already filled the position with a suitable candidate.

The Employment Promotion Law of China explicitly guarantees workers the right to equal employment opportunities and independent career choices. It also prohibits discrimination in hiring practices based on factors such as ethnicity, race, gender, and religion. Individuals who violate these provisions can be held legally liable through lawsuits.

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