If I were to ask you which sector of the workforce most effectively achieves diversity in the workplace, you might assume that government jobs would most likely live up to this standard. Unfortunately, data indicates that is not the case. An article published by Black Enterprise expounded on the data provided by governmentjobs.com, which revealed that Black women are 58% less likely to be hired than White men.
Wow, that is a large number! But let’s look a little further. As with all statistics, it is critical to dive deeper to see the true story the data tells. Was the study looking at all candidates or just the qualified ones? What were the overall numbers of White, Black, and Hispanic applicants? This matters in research because the numbers might be misleading if the people not hired were not qualified. It is also important to determine the number of candidates in each gender and race that applied–you cannot take a minority group and make them a majority.
The Data Tells the Story
Based on looking at the data with these critical questions in mind, what information was revealed?
- Qualified Black women were 58% less likely than qualified White men to be hired.
- Out of 17,000,000 applications, 28% identified as Black.
- Out of the 28% of Black applicants, only 18% were actually hired, which is indeed disproportionate.
- Qualified Black women were 39% less likely to receive an interview than their male counterparts.
With so many organizations desperately needing more diversity of thought to achieve success, these numbers are unacceptable. But there are ways to overcome this barrier.
Be Actively Aware of Hiring Practices
We continuously see diversity as a challenge for organizations because of hiring practices that trend toward sameness. This problem occurs because of the tendencies of people to desire to be around people that are similar to them. Who is doing the majority of the decision-making in organizations? Middle-aged, White men–and they are hiring people into the organization that they understand and are like them–this is actually a normal tendency. Who really goes out and seeks friends that are completely different from them that they have very little in common with? Not many people.
Often, the lack of workplace diversity is as simple as a lack of understanding of how the problem occurs. To address it, leaders must take an honest look at who they are hiring and why. If the pattern revolves around the habit of seeking sameness, then the organization must make a concerted effort to change this practice and seek diversity. Diversity of thought will only make the company stronger.
Change the Hiring Formula
If diversity of thought is the goal–and it should always be the goal–then hiring formulas must be changed to become gender and ethnic neutral. Some companies think that they do this but are failing miserably. For instance, Google has a hiring process they call hiring for culture, but Google still has a huge diversity problem. Why? Because the only people considered for a job are the ones that master their process. The design is flawed because it only allows them to continue to get more of what they already have, and then everyone fits the same mold.
So, what does the new formula need to have? Knowing that quotas conjure up the idea with some majority groups that women or minorities are somehow receiving an unfair advantage, there must be another way, and there is. Companies must create a truly neutral hiring process that removes gender, race, and ethnicity and creates a hiring practice that looks at applicants by qualifications only. By removing the intake or interview process, the candidate’s qualifications determine who receives an interview and ultimately lands the position. Adopting a blind hiring process reduces the chances that leaders will succumb to the unconscious bias of sameness.
Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect & Founder of The Women’s Code, a training company specialized in providing companies an ROI on Balanced Leadership. She has been named one of 50 must-follow women entrepreneurs by the Huffington Post. A first-generation immigrant who found herself $135,000 in debt as a single parent, she bootstrapped her passion for photography into a highly successful global business and eventually sold it to Bill Gates in a multimillion-dollar deal.
Beate works with business leaders and supports organizations by developing and providing training the training, tools, and expertise to create and maintain a balanced, equal, and inclusive work environment that fosters creativity, employee engagement, and corporate growth.
Recent clients include Merck, Women’s Legislative Caucus of California, Cal State University Dominguez Hills, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), NFTE, CreativeLive, the Association of Corporate Growth, and TracyLocke.
Beate is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome” a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.
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