Recruiter Fired for Offering to Drug His Female Co-workers In Exchange for Resumes

Sexist job ads are common in China’s tech industry. Some are worse than others.
netease human resources sexist
Chinese companies have used their female staff as a selling point to attract male applicants. Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP

A Chinese tech giant said it fired a recruiter who offered to drug his female co-workers in a call for applications that sparked widespread outrage.

NetEase, a Nasdaq-listed gaming and media company, apologized in an online statement after a screenshot of the recruiter’s social media post went viral.

The screenshot shows Xu Bo, a recruiter at NetEase’s gaming department, posted a team photo with mostly female staff on his personal WeChat feed in a call for resumes.

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“Recruiting. If you fancy any of my female colleagues, give me a programming resume, I will help with flirting,” the recruiter wrote in a post accompanying the photo.

Then, in a comment responding to his own post, Xu wrote: “Give me resumes. I can even help you drug them.”

Xu Bo is a common name for men. NetEase declined to disclose the recruiter’s gender.

The remarks were shared widely on Thursday, prompting a wave of criticism directed not just at Xu but at the prevalence of discrimination and harassment of women in the Chinese workplace and society.

“People can say these words without any concerns, and post them on WeChat. What does it tell us?” said one of the top voted comments on the microblogging site Weibo. 

“We should think about why so many men treat women as sexual resources instead of human beings,” another person commented. 

Sexist job ads are frequently seen in China. Some of the country’s biggest internet companies have been caught using their female staff as a selling point to attract male applicants.

According to a 2018 Human Rights Watch review of job postings in China, top tech companies including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu had repeatedly posted ads that emphasized the physical attractiveness of their female employees.

Many job ads also openly state a preference for men. It’s also common for recruiters to ask about the marriage and childbearing status of female applicants, in order to eliminate those who are likely to take maternity leave in the near future.

In an online statement issued later in the day, NetEast confirmed the WeChat post was from its recruiter, and said the company had dismissed him.

The statement said the former employee had "deeply understood the mistake” and publicly apologized, and the recruiting team will conduct "serious self-reflection and step up work ethics education."

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