Being a forty two year old white man, my husband is statistically more likely to recruit a white male between the ages of thirty five and fifty than anyone from any other group of people.
That doesn’t mean to say that my husband, specifically, will do this… it’s just what the stats say.
But then, 99% of all statistics are made up.
I’ve long battled against the need for more and arbitrary legislation in HR and recruitment and I only half believe what the stats say… I know, for a fact, that my husband, despite what the stats say, is entirely fair, open minded and above all, legal, when he recruits.
But then I speak to others and I have to shake my head in amazement.
I was running a programme covering the legalities of recruitment today and came up against some of the entrenched attitudes that might, just might, mean that the heavy handed legislation we are all suffering under is actually necessary.
During the programme I was explaining to business owners what they could and couldn’t ask in a recruitment interview.
About halfway through, one guy (a white man about thirty five years old) suddenly piped up: ‘My God, this is a load of B%*!ocks. I’ll employ who I want in my business – it’s my business! And I can tell you something, it ain’t going to be a woman in her mid twenties…’
Apart from the obviously discriminatory attitude, the guy was being a fool to his business.
The talent being denied to that business is incredible. By narrowing down the people available for the business there are opportunities being missed to bring in experience, different points of view and even access to new markets.
The trick, then, was to convince this guy of the benefits of increasing the size of the gene pool. But then, I’d forgotten one thing. Discrimination isn’t logical.
It’s not about persuading someone that they could do better in business if only they would be more open to different groups of people.
When I talked to my delegate in the break it turned out that his discrimination didn’t come from an aggressive standpoint; it was driven by fear.
In such a small business the guy was worried he would have to deal with things that he saw as embarrassing if he employed a lady or that he was say something culturally wrong if he employed a person from a different ethnic group.
Whilst these fear, or indeed the aggression, remains, the stats will prove to be true and legislation will be needed.