When Does Equality Become Inequity?

With such great movements towards equality in workplaces; I’ve always been curious about the hidden dynamics.  By this I mean – what do companies really do (under the surface) to achieve equality and this authentic?

Larger organisations now have set targets to meet on diversity and most of it sits around gender.  This is only one small part of diversity.  Only the statistics and results are seen in the public eye.  These are often seen in reporting or through and Talent Attraction Campaigns.

Little is known about how organisations achieve this.  Behind the scenes are people in recruitment, talent management, leadership and HR who work tirelessly to ensure the organisation complies.  How do they achieve this difficult task?

Recruitment

I’ve asked a number of colleagues who work in recruitment (particularly in the banking sector) and was horrified.  One colleague said that for every three resume’s they presented to stakeholders, there must be at least one female represented (this is not what horrified me!).  This horrified me!  The focus was not on whether the female had the experience and qualifications for the role but was simply a ‘token’ candidate.  This meant that the recruitment team could report accurately that they had put forward a female candidate to the role.

This has many levels of ‘wrongness’ .  The poor female candidate goes for a job interview and is clearly not right for the role.  How does this leave her feeling?  What about the time she wasted, the time the recruitment team wasted and the interviewer!  Simply so the organisation can report they have interviewed so many females for the role.

I too have been asked to apply for a senior role as the company only wanted a female.  Not only was I under qualified but I didn’t want to take a role where an organisation thought that male and female ratios meant diversity.

Internal Promotions

I’ve also seen males less qualified and experienced get internal promotions over other more qualified females to meet the targets of a female dominated industry.  I’ve also witnessed a female who was extremely under qualified get promoted into a senior role over a male (who was doing the role and very successfully).

Diversity is so much more than gender.  If we are going to focus on gender as a way to quantify that we are ‘good’ organisations – this is alarming.  Male or Female – we should not be put up as a statistic to prove we are equal.  In fact I think looking simply at gender is inequality.

Some organisations do diversity really well and I know why.  They don’t have to report on male/female ratios or prove anything.  The simple mantra is ‘the right person for the job’.  One such organisation a great mix of male/female/transgender/gay/bisexual/people with disabilities/marginalised people and much more.

Diversity of thought is the key and the ‘best person for the job’ regardless is real diversity.

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