The diversity industry has become a huge international scam. In some ways it’s a farce, but it also has a sinister side.
Employees now mutter jokes in fear of the thought police of the Human Resources Department. It is no defence to say some chance remark was intended to be light hearted. Nor it is enough to say it was not intended to cause offence.
Indeed, even though it probably would not cause offence to the vast majority of people, this is not enough to be safe. If someone happens to take offence, however unreasonably, then Human Resources are in business.
An “inappropriate” remark has been uttered. Off to diversity training for re-education. This means that asking a fellow employee out for a drink is really dangerous territory.
Naturally the diversity officers have a vested interested in proposing that as many people as possible attend these courses – so that they can then point out the desperate shortage of diversity officers to run the number of courses required.
It started in the public sector but has increasingly been embraced by the big corporates. They can regard it as a way of keeping down legal bills with all those unfair dismissal cases and the need for the form to show it “takes its responsibilities very seriously” by ticking all sorts of boxes.
But anyway big firms are generally quite content for costs to be high as they can better absorb them than the small and medium sized firms which are kept in their place by such burdens.
About $8 billion a year is spent on diversity trainings in the United States alone, according to data from U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A staggering sum.
Harvard Kennedy School professor of public policy Iris Bohnet has told McKinsey’s: “Now, I tried very hard to find any evidence I could. I looked not just in the United States but also in Rwanda and other post-conflict countries, where reconciliation is often built on the kind of diversity trainings that we do in our companies, to see how this is working. Sadly enough, I did not find a single study that found that diversity training in fact leads to more diversity.”
One of the supposed problems that diversity training is meant to deal with is discriminatory recruitment practices. However Toby Young, writing in The Spectator, points to a study which finds that any such discrimination is “positive” (that is against white males).
The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian government has just published the results of a randomised control trial involving 21,000 employees of the Australian Public Service to see if the introduction of ‘blind recruiting’ would help promote gender equality and diversity. The employees were asked to shortlist candidates for a managerial position, with half of them being given their names and other identity markers and the other half not. If these public servants were suffering from unconscious bias, you would expect the ‘blindfolded’ group to be more likely to shortlist female and minority candidates and less likely to shortlist white men. In fact, the reverse happened.
The participants in the study were 2.9 per cent more likely to shortlist female applicants and 3.2 per cent less likely to shortlist male applicants when their identities were made clear. Minority males were 5.8 per cent more likely to be shortlisted and minority females 8.6 per cent more likely when their identities were known, and candidates who were lucky enough to be both female and from a minority background were virtually guaranteed a job.
If anything it would appear that employers are anxious to be non-discriminatory rather than recruit on merit. They are applying reverse discrimination to groups that are perceived to be disadvantaged.
No doubt it was impatience at such injustice and absurdities that contributed to the election of Donald Trump as United States President. So will he ensure that this huge, self-serving, diversity industry will be closed down? Will all the diversity trainers have to go and get proper jobs and leave the rest of us alone to get on with our lives? We can only dream…