Poll | 59% of Hiring Managers Feel Pressured to Prioritize Race

Prospective employees wait for interview. | Image by Shutterstock

Hiring managers across numerous sectors have reportedly begun excluding members of racial and gender majorities in the public pursuit of a more diverse workplace, based on a recent survey.

These kinds of “reverse discrimination” hiring policies have resulted in roughly 1 in 6 hiring managers being asked to deprioritize hiring white men, according to a report by ResumeBuilder.com, which surveyed 1,000 hiring managers across the U.S.

Reverse discrimination” in hiring is enacted when companies purposefully pass over job candidates of racial and gender majorities, purportedly to meet “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) benchmarks.

The survey results found that nearly 20% of polled hiring managers said they were told to deprioritize white male and female job candidates when evaluating individuals to employ.

Regarding the exclusion of job candidates based on skin color, approximately 16% of hiring managers claimed they were told to pass over white male candidates, and 14% were asked to deprioritize hiring white women, according to survey results.

“This is a consistent finding with past reports of reverse discrimination,” ResumeBuilder.com said in the report.

The report cited a lawsuit by former Google and YouTube recruiter Arne Wilberg who alleged he was “unlawfully fired because he didn’t reject white and Asian male job candidates, which he said the company pressured him and other recruits to do for diversity purposes.”

Hiring practices regarding diversity are evolving, commented career strategist and job search coach Stacie Haller, and workers will notice if companies are acting authentically or using DEI as a means to the desired end.

“While the efforts to overcome inequality in hiring diverse populations continue to evolve, companies need to consider all aspects and the effects of these practices on their entire population and move carefully and thoughtfully,” said Haller.

Other key findings from the survey suggested that many companies might not be forthright with their DEI hiring policy.

The report found that 70% of polled hiring managers at companies with DEI initiatives “somewhat” (32%) or “strongly” (38%) believed that their employer had DEI policies in place for appearances’ sake.

More than half, or 52%, “somewhat” (29%), or “strongly” (24%), believed their company practices “reverse discrimination” when it comes to hiring, according to the report.

Additionally, 48% claimed they had been told to prioritize diversity over qualifications when considering an applicant.

Many hiring managers reported feeling pressure from multiple sources when choosing diverse job candidates.

A total of 59% reported feeling “some” (39%) or “a lot” (20%) of pressure, with 47% of this group saying this pressure came from company higher-ups and 45% from their boss.

Still, when asked whether they believed their company had overall good intentions when it came to DEI initiatives, 30% of hiring managers “somewhat” agreed, while 67% “strongly” agreed. In addition, 35% “somewhat” and 60% “strongly” believed that their company had improved overall by having DEI initiatives.

The poll was conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on November 2, 2022, with a total of 1,000 participants in the U.S. responding.

All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were age 18 or older, currently employed for wages or self-employed, and managed at least 25% of the hiring at their workplace.

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