The Metropolitan Police organization is looking at implementing
a policy of positive discrimination into their hiring policies.
This has prompted a huge debate among HR and Legal professionals
alike. Here are some key factors to consider.
Positive discrimination isn't a new concept. It was actually
established to do the opposite. It was created by John F Kennedy in
the US in 1961 to ensure that no one would be discriminated in any
way on the basis of their creed/colour/national origin.
This scheme has actually been implemented amongst Police
officers in America since the 1970s. Several problems with the
concept have been identified. When quotas have been
implemented there can still be a bottleneck in place just by
the nature of the existing work force. Just because new hires will
be brought in according to new aggregates doesn't mean that the
makeup of the work force will necessarily change. For this to
happen people already working in the force will need to leave and
this won't happen in the short term. This means it would take a
very long time for sizeable changes to take place.
Sometimes this kind of discrimination will lead to a reduction
of morale within existing members of staff. If people feel that
candidates are being brought on, not because of their skills and
attributes - it can negatively affect staff's perception of the
company they work for and their colleagues. This could lead to a
reduction in production in the private sector and employee
Rapid changes in the demographic within London will mean that
the positive discrimination policies would need constant review and
adjustment. Over the past 20 years London has changed demonstrably.
This would make it quite a headache for HR departments to
continually conduct analysis to make sure they were hiring in a
Positive Discrimination may also have a negative effect on a
company's employer brand. The best talent may shy away from
applying to work with them if they feel their application may
already be on the back foot due to their ethnicity. This may make
companies who enforce this policy struggle to attract as broad a
talent pool as possible.
Companies should look at their advertising strategies and
branding to ensure an all-encompassing reach, but ultimately
appointments should be based on skills, experience and suitability
for the role and company.