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Female Hiring Targets

  • 05-07-2021 3:16pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ the-island-man


    Something that has interested me in the last while is internal memo's from companies of all sizes in Ireland about targets they have put in place to hire X percentage of female employees. Both at a general level and into senior positions. I wanted to see if other people have the same opinion as myself.

    I'm obviously male but I don't consider myself sexist. I have a wife and a daughter so I don't want to see females discriminated against and while I am not an expert there does seem to be an issue in females getting hired, promoted and being paid properly. However this approach of setting targets seems to be a lazy approach to fixing the problem and also just seems to amount to openly discriminating against men. At the macro level it will no doubt achieve the aim of leveling the playing field but at an individual role level it will surely result in discrimination against men and the successful candidate will not always be the best person for the role.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭ Triangle


    Something that has interested me in the last while is press releases from companies of all sizes in Ireland about targets they have put in place to hire X percentage of female employees. Both at a general level and into senior positions. I wanted to see if other people have the same opinion as myself.

    I'm obviously male but I don't consider myself sexist. I have a wife and a daughter so I don't want to see females discriminated against and while I am not an expert there does seem to be an issue in females getting hired, promoted and being paid properly. However this approach of setting quotas seems to be a lazy approach to fixing the problem and also just seems to amount to openly discriminating against men. At the macro level it will no doubt achieve the aim of leveling the playing field but at an individual role level it will surely result in discrimination against men and the successful candidate will not always be the best person for the role.

    100%, I read recently someone was proposing to have a female only TD seat. Absolute antidemocratic sentiment I've heard in a good bit.
    Seemingly sexism can only go one way. It's positive discrimination the other way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,216 ✭✭✭ landofthetree


    How would it work if I started up a civil engineering consultants?

    If only 10% of civil engineer graduates are women I cant hire 50:50.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,476 ✭✭✭ wench


    How would it work if I started up a civil engineering consultants?

    If only 10% of civil engineer graduates are women I cant hire 50:50.
    Of course you can, unless you are proposing to hire so many that you would exhaust the pool before reaching 50:50


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,169 ✭✭✭ km991148


    tranquilo wrote: »
    The best and most qualified person for the job should be hired. Gender should have nothing to do with it, the same way race, religion, etc. should have nothing to do with it

    And if that had been traditionally been the case, then I'm sure there would be no need for "controversial" policies like positive discrimination (which I don't like myself, but I can understand its need).

    Its not like there are jobs for people based on their gender/race/whatever on its own - i.e. they will have to actually be good at what they do.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,169 ✭✭✭ km991148


    How would it work if I started up a civil engineering consultants?

    If only 10% of civil engineer graduates are women I cant hire 50:50.

    You could still aim for balance, but initially you would not achieve it, however over time you may see a higher number of graduates as they will come to realise that the industry isn't closed off to the idea of women working in it.



    This sorta stuff is only as hard as people choose to make it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,224 ✭✭✭✭ Francie Barrett


    How would it work if I started up a civil engineering consultants?

    If only 10% of civil engineer graduates are women I cant hire 50:50.
    Imagine if you had the same reverse discrimination against nurses?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,369 ✭✭✭ Wheety


    Job shortlisting should only be based on CV with no personal info at all. Then for interview have it like those witnesses to an event on tv shows. Just a dark silhouette and a deep robot voice.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,333 ✭✭✭✭ seamus


    tranquilo wrote: »
    The best and most qualified person for the job should be hired. Gender should have nothing to do with it, the same way race, religion, etc. should have nothing to do with it
    I don't think anyone would disagree with this.

    But at the same time when you have very unbalanced splits in companies along the lines of gender, race, etc, then there's quite probably an issue where the best candidate is NOT being selected for the job.

    Gender quotas are kind of a blunt instrument; they force a rebalance within in the organisation, which then in theory should continue after you drop any notion of quotas.

    The longer but more appropriate way to do it is to make gender quotas a target rather than something forced. So if an org aims for at least 40% women, but they're only at 25%, then they need to start digging to find out why.

    If only 25% of applicants are women, then they need to focus on their hiring strategy to bring that up.
    If 50% of applicants are women but 75% of new hires are men, then there's likely a systemic bias in their hiring process, and they need to reasses how hires are ranked and selected.

    This applies throughout the org, not just at the new entry level. If 60% of your workers are male, but 90% of your management team is male, then you need to find out what barriers are causing this. Is it a matter of workload, is it a systemic bias, etc.

    Quotas as a performance target are a good thing. As a selection method for candidates; blunt and unlikely to get good results.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,982 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    Something that has interested me in the last while is press releases from companies of all sizes in Ireland about targets they have put in place to hire X percentage of female employees. Both at a general level and into senior positions. I wanted to see if other people have the same opinion as myself.

    I'm obviously male but I don't consider myself sexist. I have a wife and a daughter so I don't want to see females discriminated against and while I am not an expert there does seem to be an issue in females getting hired, promoted and being paid properly. However this approach of setting quotas seems to be a lazy approach to fixing the problem and also just seems to amount to openly discriminating against men. At the macro level it will no doubt achieve the aim of leveling the playing field but at an individual role level it will surely result in discrimination against men and the successful candidate will not always be the best person for the role.

    It might help have a sensible discussion if you point to which specific measures by which specific companies have concerned you. Otherwise, there is a serious danger that you're creating a big bogeyman (bogeywoman) scenario to scare people off something that is actually happening.

    Most positive action measures are a lot more nuanced that your post suggests.



    tranquilo wrote: »
    The best and most qualified person for the job should be hired. Gender should have nothing to do with it, the same way race, religion, etc. should have nothing to do with it

    Have you any thoughts on why most senior jobs in most professions, in the Dail, in the Army and Gardai are held by men?

    Triangle wrote: »
    100%, I read recently someone was proposing to have a female only TD seat. Absolute antidemocratic sentiment I've heard in a good bit.
    Seemingly sexism can only go one way. It's positive discrimination the other way.

    Who suggested this female only TD seat?

    Positive action measures (which are clearly defined in equality law) can absolutely go both ways.

    https://employmentrightsireland.com/equality-and-discrimination-in-the-workplace-in-ireland-an-overview/


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,982 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    Imagine if you had the same reverse discrimination against nurses?

    Like this, you mean?
    https://www.coventry.ac.uk/primary-news/university-tackles-nursing-gender-gap-with-first-bursary-for-men/


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,169 ✭✭✭ km991148


    Imagine if you had the same reverse discrimination against nurses?

    Like there are similar programmes to get more men into nursing? and primary school teaching and a whole lot of other jobs..

    So you don't really need to imagine!

    EDIT: written at the same time as AJR..

    heres some more info / examples
    https://www.nursingtimes.net/opinion/recognising-the-gender-gap-getting-more-men-into-nursing-19-06-2020/


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,929 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    tranquilo wrote: »
    The best and most qualified person for the job should be hired. Gender should have nothing to do with it, the same way race, religion, etc. should have nothing to do with it

    The issue this is addressing is unconscious bias. So, if you have 2 people, one male, one female, who are both perfect candidates and you are below quota, then you hire the female.

    What this is not aimed to do is hire less suitable people for roles.

    Only a moron would think this would lead to that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,385 ✭✭✭ Dodge


    tranquilo wrote: »
    The best and most qualified person for the job should be hired. Gender should have nothing to do with it, the same way race, religion, etc. should have nothing to do with it

    For most jobs there is no ‘best person for the job’. There’s loads of people who could do the job and do it well. It’s folly to suggest that looking at a persons CV and interviewing them that you’ll be able to pick the best person for the job every time. You might just have picked the person who beat presented their case etc etc

    And if you really are the ‘best’ person doing a job, you’ll have nothing to worry about from others going for the similar jobs


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,921 ✭✭✭ $hifty


    Something that has interested me in the last while is press releases from companies of all sizes in Ireland about targets they have put in place to hire X percentage of female employees. Both at a general level and into senior positions. I wanted to see if other people have the same opinion as myself.

    I've never seen anything of the sort, at least not officially and in writing......any company which advertised as "men/women only" would be hauled through the court system and their name muddied beyond belief, it would literally be all over the news and social media.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭ Nermal


    $hifty wrote: »
    I've never seen anything of the sort, at least not officially and in writing......any company which advertised as "men/women only" would be hauled through the court system and their name muddied beyond belief, it would literally be all over the news and social media.

    There's no need. Misandry can be cloaked in 'targets', or 'welcoming' certain applicants.


  • Registered Users Posts: 513 ✭✭✭ isha


    seamus wrote: »
    I don't think anyone would disagree with this.

    But at the same time when you have very unbalanced splits in companies along the lines of gender, race, etc, then there's quite probably an issue where the best candidate is NOT being selected for the job.

    Gender quotas are kind of a blunt instrument; they force a rebalance within in the organisation, which then in theory should continue after you drop any notion of quotas.

    The longer but more appropriate way to do it is to make gender quotas a target rather than something forced. So if an org aims for at least 40% women, but they're only at 25%, then they need to start digging to find out why.

    If only 25% of applicants are women, then they need to focus on their hiring strategy to bring that up.
    If 50% of applicants are women but 75% of new hires are men, then there's likely a systemic bias in their hiring process, and they need to reasses how hires are ranked and selected.

    This applies throughout the org, not just at the new entry level. If 60% of your workers are male, but 90% of your management team is male, then you need to find out what barriers are causing this. Is it a matter of workload, is it a systemic bias, etc.

    Quotas as a performance target are a good thing. As a selection method for candidates; blunt and unlikely to get good results.


    You have made a lot of statements here as if they have become objective facts just simply by stating them.

    What is the difference between a ''target'' and a quota, for a start - very little in effect, except one sounds perhaps less patronising.
    Why would rebalancing continue after quotas are dropped like some sort of magical ripple effect?
    What does one do to a hiring strategy to make it more gender accessible to target certain genders?


    If 50% of applicants are women but 75% of new hires are men, then there's likely a systemic bias in their hiring process...

    OR it might far more likely simply mean that the best candidates for the job were hired.

    Hiring quotas are infantilising to women. Workload issues and personal choices freely made about work-life balance are far more likely to be behind uneven gender representation in demanding sectors of work than systemic bias.

    Personally I know women working at the highest positions available in many sectors, including very technical, traditionally male fields such as engineering, law, architecture, scientific research, civil service - they tell me there were no barriers to getting where they are - just do the work, bring the results and the people they met along the way are co-operative, mature and professional.


  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ the-island-man


    It might help have a sensible discussion if you point to which specific measures by which specific companies have concerned you. Otherwise, there is a serious danger that you're creating a big bogeyman (bogeywoman) scenario to scare people off something that is actually happening.

    Most positive action measures are a lot more nuanced that your post suggests.

    I'm in I.T so that would be the sector I am focused on:
    Facebook: https://www.ft.com/content/abf461ca-a25f-11e9-974c-ad1c6ab5efd1
    Twitter: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/15/twitter-workforce-diversity-goals-will-help-bring-balance-to-platform.html

    My current company which is an SME has set a target of 35% of the workforce to be female. I am also related to a person who works in a Multinational Financial Investments company. They told me that a women and a non-Caucasian person are the preferred interviewers as it shows the company as being diverse.

    My genuinely held fear is it's a short jump for these "targets" to be inserted into performance goals for managers. As you'd expect most HR personnel know nothing about I.T so who's going to stop some lazy hiring manager from hiring a person not fit for the role just to meet their performance goals?!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,882 ✭✭✭ Smee_Again


    It's discrimination and shouldn't be needed but those arguing for hiring the best person fore the job are ignoring that this isn't what happens for various reasons (number 1 being there's not really a best person for the job) so I've no issue with it as a blunt instrument to balance things out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,216 ✭✭✭ landofthetree


    wench wrote: »
    Of course you can, unless you are proposing to hire so many that you would exhaust the pool before reaching 50:50

    But that means only a small number of companies can have 50:50.

    If there are 900 male engineers and 100 female engineers in the country and if 10 companies exist who all hire 100 people then how can every company have 50:50?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ the-island-man


    Smee_Again wrote: »
    It's discrimination and shouldn't be needed but those arguing for hiring the best person fore the job are ignoring that this isn't what happens for various reasons (number 1 being there's not really a best person for the job) so I've no issue with it as a blunt instrument to balance things out.

    I didn't ignore it. I highlighted it in my original post that I do believe there is an issue but that setting Quotas to fix it was a discriminatory approach.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭ Nermal


    Smee_Again wrote: »
    there's not really a best person for the job

    Of course there is. Even when multiple candidates meet the requirements, it's always possible to rank them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,982 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    I'm in I.T so that would be the sector I am focused on:
    Facebook: https://www.ft.com/content/abf461ca-a25f-11e9-974c-ad1c6ab5efd1
    Twitter: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/15/twitter-workforce-diversity-goals-will-help-bring-balance-to-platform.html

    My current company which is an SME has set a target of 35% of the workforce to be female. I am also related to a person who works in a Multinational Financial Investments company. They told me that a women and a non-Caucasian person are the preferred interviewers as it shows the company as being diverse.

    My genuinely held fear is it's a short jump for these "targets" to be inserted into performance goals for managers. As you'd expect most HR personnel know nothing about I.T so who's going to stop some lazy hiring manager from hiring a person not fit for the role just to meet their performance goals?!

    Both articles are from outside Ireland, and one is paywalled, so it's hard to draw any sensible conclusions there.

    It's also hard to draw any sensible conclusions from the single point you quote about your own employer, of the 35% target. At a guess, this one figure is part of a much larger policy detailing clearly how they plan to achieve the target. It may well set out positive action measures to attract more female applications, measures to retain more female employees, measures for engaging with schools and colleges to encourage more female students. and will probably give a clear indication of how the target is planned to be achieved - which will probably address your superficial concern about hiring people not fit for the role.

    The people who came up with this policy and the senior management who signed off on it have a fairly clear vested interest in not recruiting people who are not fit for their role. Think about it.

    Have you looked for more details from your employer as to how they plan to implement this policy?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,216 ✭✭✭ landofthetree


    Smee_Again wrote: »
    It's discrimination and shouldn't be needed but those arguing for hiring the best person fore the job are ignoring that this isn't what happens for various reasons (number 1 being there's not really a best person for the job) so I've no issue with it as a blunt instrument to balance things out.

    Maybe in the public sector but in the private sector companies that dont hire the best will suffer the consequences.

    Free market capitalism hates discrimination.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,982 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    But that means only a small number of companies can have 50:50.

    If there are 900 male engineers and 100 female engineers in the country and if 10 companies exist who all hire 100 people then how can every company have 50:50?

    In this kind of scenario, you'll probably find that the strategy will include measures to increase the supply of female engineers over time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,982 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    Free market capitalism hates discrimination.

    Free market capitalism is founded on discrimination.


  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ the-island-man


    Both articles are from outside Ireland, and one is paywalled, so it's hard to draw any sensible conclusions there.

    They both have their European Headquarters in Dublin. You think there's something special about Ireland that they wouldn't apply it in the same way?!

    It's also hard to draw any sensible conclusions from the single point you quote about your own employer, of the 35% target. At a guess, this one figure is part of a much larger policy detailing clearly how they plan to achieve the target. It may well set out positive action measures to attract more female applications, measures to retain more female employees, measures for engaging with schools and colleges to encourage more female students. and will probably give a clear indication of how the target is planned to be achieved - which will probably address your superficial concern about hiring people not fit for the role.

    The people who came up with this policy and the senior management who signed off on it have a fairly clear vested interest in not recruiting people who are not fit for their role. Think about it.

    Have you looked for more details from your employer as to how they plan to implement this policy?

    No, I haven't requested more information but it's not just about my company. I believe this is a global trend.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,982 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    They both have their European Headquarters in Dublin. You think there's something special about Ireland that they wouldn't apply it in the same way?!
    Every country is special when it comes to employment law and the general HR environment, as these multi-national organisations well know - so they tailor their employment policies by country.

    Again, if you can point to specific measures being implemented in Ireland, we can see how far they are away from the broad scary story you set out of the poor lads being discriminated against.
    No, I haven't requested more information but it's not just about my company. I believe this is a global trend.

    Your own company would be a great opportunity to fully understand what is behind the global trend. Go behind the headline, understand the details of the policy, and then we can have a sensible discussion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,162 ✭✭✭✭ KKV


    What happens if you go to an interview and they hire a woman anyway, as they need to fill certain quotas.

    Surely you've a discrimination case?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,882 ✭✭✭ Smee_Again


    I didn't ignore it. I highlighted it in my original post that I do believe there is an issue but that setting Quotas to fix it was a discriminatory approach.

    And I agree, I just don't have an issue with it for now.
    Nermal wrote: »
    Of course there is. Even when multiple candidates meet the requirements, it's always possible to rank them.

    And these rankings will be arbitrary and could easily change depending on who interviewed the candidates, what everyone had for breakfast that morning etc. Interviewing and hiring in general is a skill and some people are better at it than others but there's no way to take the human element out it.


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