‘Diversity and inclusion have never been more important’. They’re at it again, all those boorish recruitment consultants, so-called brand specialists, and advertising gurus churning out whatever toss they think might snag them a hatful of clicks.
And it’s always been important. Not more so now. It’s the concept of diversity that has never been more important to them, as means to maximise their revenue channels, particularly when fat slices of public wedge are up for grabs during periods of potential social change. A high percentage of minority applications will reflect an open and welcoming brand. Slap a big tick in that box, my son.
Yet those very same businesses manage the funnels of their volume recruitment campaigns by applying timed, online tests to top-slice the candidate pool with the result that minority candidates are disproportionately binned. It’s a cost-effective way of whittling down numbers, but at a more significant cost to the hopes and dreams of those who have already been societally screwed. And it’s the dirty little secret of every virtue-signalling recruitment set-up.
Add that to the weight of wider social disadvantage, and higher benchmarks will lead to inflated swathes of minority candidates being kicked to the kerb.
The inescapable truth is that money has never been more important – than anything, ever. And always more so than equal opportunities.
So, while unwavering support for diversity is trumpeted, institutionalised processes scupper inclusion. It amounts to a hearty welcome to the process, but not the company. No goodie bag of a branded pen and a refillable coffee vessel for you, matey.
Further to the embedded processes that pump away relentlessly to buttress a sense of fraternal security, there is no shortage of favoured internal candidates for roles who will be tipped the wink and slotted into unmerited promotions. In these situations, stellar candidates from every other under-represented group get shafted. This is how systemic inequality thrives.
Those who advance are cheap, subservient, and institutionally reliant on their sponsors. And inveterately dim. Companies who play this game are scuppering their own potential, but they cannot see beyond the four walls of their own little castles as long as the immediate balance sheet flickers with a modicum of positivity.
Most hypocritically, those who suck up as much privilege as they can handle through this nepotistic manoeuvring become the most evangelical about diversity and their commitment to it. Of course, they are committed only to their own privilege and comfort.
Which brings me to the notion of BAME, or BME. What does it even mean, and I don’t mean ‘Black (and Asian) Minority Ethnic?’ How does its use help us in tacking the obvious issues?
It helps only the statisticians. By lumping every minority candidate into one group, that is a number that can be artificially boosted to reflect non-White British, which is a favourable direction of travel for the galloping virtue-jockey. In fact, some shameless rogues will sneak other European candidates into their BAME mix to give their diversity profile a shot in the arm. It wouldn’t be so bad if they actually sought to understand the particular challenges faced by those from these backgrounds, but few ever venture beyond the top layer and into the realms of constructive intervention.
We seriously do need a No-BAME culture.
Juiced-up stats aside, excessive intellectual gymnastics are not required to appreciate that the challenges faced by a Black British candidate, for example, will differ considerably to those faced by someone of British Pakistani heritage. The fixation on breathing the BAME glue-bag suggests a desperation for diversity fumes to hit the organisational bloodstream at the expense of understanding the specifics of root causes. It all hardly reflects a keenness to resolve the individual challenges of inequality.
If that determination does exist, then the results are spectacularly unfruitful. You will not see many minority candidates hitting the higher echelons of the companies where epicurean diversity is so heartily served up via all those woeful thought-leadership blogs and webinars. Next time you read a self-righteous business blog, wing over to the corporate ‘About Us’ section of their website to check the hypocrisy dipstick. That’s if they have the gall to even include one – many now do not.
We cannot demand that organisations change the world, but we can expect them to play their part by making those changes that are within their gift. Role appointments seem to fall squarely within that bracket but that their double standards suggest they see this as a mug’s obligation for others.
When industry ‘experts’ bang on about diversity, inclusion, and BAME, they are simply notching up credentials for your approval. Meanwhile, they’re still screwing over minority groups and shovelling up meaty profit into the bargain.
Bear it in mind the next time your organisation goes Recruitment or Brand shopping.
Be extra vigilant if you are a candidate.
Freaking Hired! How Recruitment Processes Sabotage Hopes and Dreams is available on Amazon.