Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘job aids

February 23, 2005

“In peace time, why and how often are Human Factors professionals hired?”

In peace time, governments of modern countries are the major employers of Human Factors and industrial psychologists either directly or indirectly.

Many of government’s contracts with private companies attach clauses that require involvements of these professionals in their projects, and so they get hired in order to secure bids.

In peace time, which is rare, companies have the luxury to select who they think are the best qualified candidates from the vast pool of job applicants, locally and internationally.

People assume that the hired applicants are mostly the best qualified technically and the best trained for the jobs.

Most of us are very skeptical about that assumption of hiring the best qualified applicants, especially in underdeveloped countries. 

It seems that this skepticism is applicable everywhere and for good reasons.

When you have to interact with coworkers every day for eight hours a day, it stands to reason that you prefer people whom you think are compatible to your idiosyncrasies.

So far, this approach might be considered rational emotionally, and bearing many elements of common sense and good judgments.

On the other hand, how could any one test his incompatibility of living and interacting with someone else, based on his discrimination on sex, race, color and religion if the opportunities to meet with them is an impossibility or at best the interactions are fleeting?

Under social and political pressures, governments have enacted laws that prohibit discrimination on the jobs unless the applicant is proven unqualified by well documented facts for specific requirements.

Obviously a law is not much of a law if no painful penalties are attached to it and no enforcement mechanisms are contemplated or an appropriate budget allocated for an independent agency and inspections agents.

So, how could an enforcement agency go about clamping down on these companies that discriminate unabashedly and with no impunity?

The first main tool is to collect data and analyze the proportions of the population hired.

A more serious analysis would compare these proportions within each department, especially in the higher levels jobs.

Any critical discrepancy in these proportions will trigger a red alert for direct inspection of the non abiding firms and legal actions taken.

By the by, the enforcement agency would learn to set priorities in their enforcement endeavor and learn what categories of companies are most inclined to discriminate for closer targeting.

So, what other job descriptions can be applicable to the training of Human Factors graduates in peace time?

A few of the design training in sound curriculum offer capabilities for designing instruction manuals, job aids, training programs, evaluation of systems on criteria of safe usage, ease of operation, ease of maintenance and repair, acceptability and retaining products.

Many of these jobs are taken by other graduates who have narrow multidisciplinary training and knowledge but are not described as engineering jobs and evidently lower wages are offered and gladly accepted.

Another job opportunity is designing workstations, not only in manufacturing facilities, but also computer workstations for institutions, private use, and educating the consumers to the various safety and health problems related to sedentary and repetitive jobs.

Note:  The version of a student to my article gave the impression that discrimination to jobs is prevalent only in underdeveloped countries.  I believe that perception is not correct since only a consistant and persistent application and enforcement of the anti-discrimination laws can hold discrimination behavior to a reduced level and check its spread among the companies and institutions.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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