WHO would find it easier to get a job? The Sunday Morning Post sent two women posing as Sara and Su-yin into the job market to find out. Sara, 21, has worked briefly as a receptionist in a hair salon and as a salesgirl. Educated in the United States, she is a high school graduate with also some secretarial skills and who speaks basic Cantonese. Su-yin, 45, speaks Cantonese, Putonghua and English. She is also a high school graduate with more than 20 years' experience as a payroll clerk, and a comprehensive computer training background. An office design company, MAS Interiors in Causeway Bay, was looking for a junior secretary with 'one to two years of working experience and knowledge of computers'. Su-yin called, giving her qualifications and age. 'Why are you applying for a junior secretarial position?' the interviewer demanded. 'When we advertise junior, it means early 20s. Even if you were 30, we would not consider you.' Sara's lack of secretarial skills did not provoke a hostile response. She was asked to fax in her resume and told they would keep in touch. A cosmetics company, Kesalan Patharan, was hiring a salesgirl for its boutique in Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui. The only advertised requirement was that the applicant be over the age of 19. Sara was invited for a further interview although she said she could not speak fluent Cantonese and had little sales experience. When Su-yin called she was told firmly but politely they wanted someone younger because the company had to project a certain image. An insurance company, the American International Group in Mid-Levels, wanted a 'customer service representative'. Required were telephone and typing skills, PC knowledge and a pleasant manner. Su-yin applied but was told: 'We do not think that you would suit this job.' When Su-yin pointed out she would only be dealing with the public over the phone, she was told: 'I just don't think you'd be suitable.' When Sara called, she said she had practically no local experience, could not type quickly and her PC knowledge was very limited. She was invited in for an interview. The personnel department at Union Insurance Society of Hong Kong Limited, in Central, advertised for a clerk-receptionist, requiring fluency in Cantonese and English, PC skills and one to two years' experience. The interviewer was glad to hear Su-yin had all the qualifications. She invited her in for an interview, only asking her age at the end of the conversation 'as a formality'. There was a pause after Su-yin revealed her age; she was then politely but firmly told the age limit was 35. When Sara applied, speaking in broken Cantonese and saying she had just a few months' work experience and no computer skills, the response was friendly; she was invited for an interview.