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Why DEI Shouldn’t Include Hiring Quotas

A notebook has a checklist with boxes

When hiring managers look for candidates, they try to find the best person to complete the job. Individuals should be hired based on their unique skills, qualifications, experience, etc. No one should be hired solely based on race, gender, etc.

This is why hiring quotas are not a good idea. Race and gender are not job qualifications. The accounting manager shouldn’t aim to hire an Asian candidate based on the stereotype that all Asians are good at math.

The logic goes both ways. Hiring managers shouldn’t reject a candidate due to race or gender. One of the many benefits of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is to ensure candidates are interviewed equally and not discriminated against. It is to give a fair chance to any candidate who meets the qualifications of the job. A diverse workforce is encouraged because it promotes diversity of thought and increases employee retention, productivity, and revenue. However, this is not a carte blanch to start ticking checkboxes or creating race and gender quotas.

Why hiring quotas don’t work for DEI

Adding a “seat to the table” doesn’t mean much in a workplace. Yes, a company can hire X amount of minorities, but if the culture is toxic towards minorities, the diversity benefits won’t follow. Also, when minorities are hired strictly because of their race, it minimizes their actual qualifications and creates tension among other employees who might feel they don’t deserve their position, even if they have the necessary qualifications.

What does hiring for a diverse workforce look like?

Hiring for a diverse workforce includes putting aside stereotypes, prejudices, and assumptions and examining the facts.

Here are some questions to consider when hiring:

  • Does this candidate have the necessary job experience for the role?

  • Does the candidate have the interpersonal skills needed to learn or complete the job?

  • If the candidate doesn’t have a degree, will that affect the job (especially if they already have experience)?

  • If the candidate has a physical disability, will it affect how the job gets done? (If it’s an office job, the answer is no).

  • Does the candidate’s goals and motivations align with the company’s values?

At the end of the day, opening doors and creating better working environments is good for employees and the business. Unfortunately, discrimination still exists in the workforce and higher education, but DEI programs and strategies help combat them.


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