The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement in many companies appears to be leading to discriminatory hiring practices against white men and women.
Case in point: 1 in 6 hiring managers say their higher-ups are telling them to “deprioritize” hiring white males for jobs, according to a new ResumeBuilder survey.
This amounts to reverse discrimination, which is defined as “unfair treatment of members of the majority group in a workplace based on race, gender, national origin, etc.” It’s against the law for an employer to hire or not hire someone based on characteristics like race or gender.
ResumeBuilder’s survey of 1,000 hiring managers also found:
- more than half (52%) believe their companies practice reverse discrimination
- 14% were told to deprioritize white female candidates
- 48% were asked to prioritize diversity over job qualifications
- 53% worry they’ll be fired if they don’t comply, and
- 70% believe their DEI programs are merely for “appearances’ sake.”
Respondents were also asked how often they pass on qualified job candidates because they’re not diverse enough. Seventeen percent said “very often” while 32% answered “somewhat often.”
Is movement to boost diversity in hiring backfiring?
The pressure that hiring managers are feeling to prioritize DEI over skills and color-blind merit may be coming from a variety of sources – boards, shareholders, owners, as well as CEOs and CFOs of their respective companies.
Where it’s headed for some businesses, if these trends continue, is lawsuits and potentially embarrassing publicity. Surveys like ResumeBuilder’s, despite the fact they rely on anonymous feedback from hiring managers, will only increase any suspicions that a company’s employees, or its job applicants, may be harboring about hiring practices.
Believe it or not, 28% of employees “strongly agree” that their organizations are fair to everyone regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation according to a Gallup poll from a few months back.
Of course, much of this sentiment is driven by external sources, such as the mainstream media, and isn’t solely the fault of how companies operated. Even so, when seven out of 10 workers don’t think they or others can always expect to get a fair shake from their employer, it’s bound to extract a cost in morale, productivity and profitability.
What can help? Transparency about company policies and implementing fair hiring practices – every time, all the time – can help to build good will and reduce negative feelings. One way to do that is by offering incentives for employees to refer family or good friends when job interviews are available.