Friday, October 13, 2017

Does Diversity Hiring Lower the Bar?

As Silicon Valley steps up its diversity initiatives, something totally predicable is happening. Staff members, especially white and Asian males, are assuming that companies will be “lowering the bar” when it hires people who fulfill diversity quotas.

The same thing has happened with university affirmative action programs.  The result will undoubtedly be the same: individuals who appear to have been hired to fulfill diversity quotas will be considered to be sub-par and less qualified. Numerous people have pointed to this fact over the years. In Silicon Valley, the thrust for diversity will make it more difficult for anyone who belongs to the target group. Even when their qualifications would have gotten them hired without any quota system.

This will cause other workers, especially the white and Asian males who dominate the place, to show them less respect and to exclude them from projects. When it comes to socializing after work or over lunch, diversity hires will be treated differently. It has happened in universities where minority students are treated as though they do not belong, or better, as though they were accepted by a different set of criteria. Unfortunately, in many cases there is truth to the assumption.

People imagine that having a national conversation about diversity is going to solve the problem of... whatever problem they think needs solving. And yet, there is a price associated with this mania. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Indeed, it crops up all over the tech industry. Companies’ efforts to achieve greater diversity in hiring and promotion have led them to broaden their search for talent, and those efforts have prompted some white and Asian male tech employees, who are a majority in the field, to privately complain that companies are dropping their standards to attain diversity goals.

The idea that entry standards are being lowered for women burst into the open this summer when James Damore, then a Google engineer, wrote a memo arguing that biological differences between men and women help explain the gender gap at the search giant. The memo was posted to an internal forum at Google and then leaked to the media.

Mr. Damore was later fired for what the company called “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” In subsequent media appearances, he has said that Google had different hiring practices for people based on their race or gender, “making it easier to get into Google.” Google, which has expanded recruiting to a larger number of universities, among other efforts to broaden its talent pool, rejects suggestions that the company has variable hiring standards.

Of course, company diversity officers insist that the new hires will not in any way change things for any white or Asian male who is applying for a job or seeking a promotion. You do not need to know how to code to see that this is patent nonsense. As long as there are a finite number of places, privileging one group over another, for reasons of diversity, will obviously work against members of the other group. Thus, members of a group targeted for diversity will often be excluded and shunted aside, the better to ensure that they do not receive diversity-driven promotions.


Sam L. said...

Anyone hired for diversity or affirmative action will be presumed to be of lesser knowledge/talent/capability, until they prove themselves talented and/or knowledgeable.

Sam L. said...