Small business raises eyebrows with job ad saying “bogans need not apply”

By Article by Dominic Powell /
Smart Company /
February 13, 2017 /
Click here to view original /

A small business has prompted debate with a job advertisement specifically noting “bogans or rough people need not apply”.

The ad, posted on classified board Gumtree, has since been de-listed, but news.com.au noted it was live as of last week and reports state it was associated with a Perth business.

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The business is seeking an admin assistant for 10-15 hours per week and specifically requests applicants to be an “international student”.

“12-15 hours per week and must be a computer whizz with full drivers licence. Must have good references. Drug free, also child and pet friendly,” the ad reads.

“No bogans or rough people need apply.”

The ad sparked conversation on social media about how businesses should advertise for positions, with some readers believing there was no issue with the callout.

“I think that every business should be able to advertise for exactly what they do and don’t want. Because it’s just a waste of everyones [sic] time if people apply that do not fit what the employer wants,” one Facebook user wrote.

SmartCompany was unable to contact the business that posted the ad prior to publication.

For businesses looking to make their job ads stand out, experts warn against including potentially discriminatory language.

Sue-Ellen Watts, founder of wattsnext HR, told SmartCompany the job ad is “probably coming from a discriminatory point of view”.

“Regarding the request for an international student, you can’t discriminate like that in an ad,” she says.

“If I were an applicant I would be questioning the business’ intentions. Some companies look for a quota of creating equality in their business. They should be very, very careful of why they’re saying that and where the request is coming from.”

For businesses wanting to specify applicant criteria in a more delicate manner, Watts recommends using some more refined language.

“You can say: ‘this is a customer facing position, applicants must be presented professionally’ or something along those lines,” she says.

“They might think Gumtree is a forum where they can say that, but it’s not going to attract the best possible candidate.”

This is not the first time a business has sparked controversy over an ad on Gumtree, with a Queensland-based business coming under fire last year for a “sexist” job advertisement.

The ad from that Queensland business referred to “fat Australian chicks”, and was labelled by experts as a poor attempt at humour and disrespectful towards customers.

At the time, advertising expert and academic Lauren Rosewarne told SmartCompany businesses should be conscious of the attention online advertisements can attract.

“The whole purpose of writing any kind of advertisement is to have people read it. Attention getting through misogyny however, gets a company the wrong type of attention,” Rosewarne says.

“Companies should try to use humour because audiences remember genuinely funny ads. Humour however, needs to be more than sly digs at women.”