Publication: Journal of Business Ethics
Article: Are men always picked over women. The effects of employment equity directives on selection decisions.
OK. Touchy subject time. Ever thought about the influence of the company’s employment equity directives? Research by Ng and Wiesner (2007) shows that such directives may matter – especially if you’re a female applicant. Who dislikes employment equity directives? Is this because you are in the majority group (ah hem, white, males) and you believe that you could lose out to someone who less qualified because of their demographic background? Or are you in an underrepresented group at work and feel like people see you in a position, not because of your skills, but because of some demographic group you ‘belong’ to? Whichever side of the coin you are on, let’s smash this right now: employment equity directives don’t lead to less-qualified hires (according to Ng and Wiesner).
Ng and Wiesner found that employment equity directives DO help hire more people of underrepresented backgrounds, but only to the extent that the new hires are actually qualified for the job.
And, yes, it still sucks being a girl (besides that whole childbirth thing); the researchers found that underrepresented men are more likely to be hired when less qualified for the job than are underrepresented women (who are qualified?).
But wait, there’s more . . . when employment equity directives were strong, the researchers found that a bit of a backlash occurred against hiring women (but not men — shocker). A possible explanation for this could be that decision-makers were resisting coercion. So be careful about how your employment equity directives are delivered to employees that hire for your company. If they are too strong or overbearing, you may be doing more harm than good.