Survey reveals that clients would rather offer more money to a white teacher with fewer qualifications Asian teachers have called for urgent action to tackle racial discrimination in private language centres after a survey indicated preferential treatment of white teachers was rife in the sector. Big English International, one of Hong Kong's largest recruitment agencies for English language teachers, has surveyed the language needs of 922 potential customers using data drawn from internal records in the past two years. Its findings, released today, show 67 per cent of private English language centres and 43 per cent of clients seeking private tutoring would only consider white teachers. The customers included 525 language centres and 397 individuals. The agency also compared the success rates of white and Asian tutors in landing a job and the average pay of both groups. Although it has had more Asian teachers of native-speaker standard on its books overall, the number of white teachers who have landed a job is more than twice the number among Asians. The agency found white female teachers were typically paid $47 more per hour than their Asian counterparts. The 61 jobs taken by white women paid an average of $277.26, compared with an average of $230.37 for the 37 jobs taken by Asian women. Pay averaged $288.66 for the 19 jobs taken by Asian male teachers, $15 more than for the 68 jobs taken by white males. But according to the agency, the result was skewed by 10 jobs that were taken by one highly-qualified Asian tutor paid $315 per hour. Director Brian James Yang said: 'The information we have gathered indicates that Chinese tutors who wish to teach at institutions are not likely to be offered a fair chance. 'Ethnic Chinese people are refused employment opportunities immediately upon revelation of their last name or photo. Institutional clients often indicate they will not consider interviewing those of Asian descent. Filipino and Indian teachers face even greater difficulty in finding desirable work. 'The ethnic heritage of a prospective tutor thus immediately determines their worth as an English teacher. Asian tutors who have better qualifications and more experience than their Caucasian counterparts are left to fight for those few jobs which are available.' Craig Lan, a Mauritian graduate with English as his mother tongue, who received his entire schooling within the English Schools Foundation and holds a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Langauges, said it had taken him about a year to land a permanent job. 'At least half the schools I applied to said they were looking for people who have a western appearance. One principal said he was under pressure from parents,' he said 'Many times I will not be chosen over a Caucasian who doesn't have any qualifications. It is racism. The Home Affairs Bureau should step up efforts to educate the public.' Louis Hop Lee, an American law graduate of Hong Kong Chinese origin, who was educated in the US and has been teaching English to adults for nine years, said: 'People believed that I was a westerner after talking on the phone and when I arrived for an interview they were surprised. The government should implement the law that would outlaw racial discrimination.' The government is finalising draft legislation to outlaw racial discrimination and intends to introduce it to Legco in the current session. A spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Bureau said current initiatives including a code of practice against racial discrimination in employment, a complaints hotline and public education and publicity programmes were 'inadequate'.