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What exactly are "diversity questionnaires" used for by employers?

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    It seems every job now requires some form of "equal opportunities and diversity questionnaire" to be completed (sometimes called "employment information forms"). Typical questions ask gender, race, and disability status, some ask sexuality and other criteria.

    Obviously employers state that this does not affect employment results, but if this was truly the case wouldn't they be redundant? For example if the questionnaires show a lack of a certain race or minority, surely the company would "do something about this" (increase advertising to that community with the hopes to employ more of these people), in a sense positively discriminating to meet "quotas"?

    For example say with the disability question, lets say a company had no disabled workers and wanted to gain an image of an equal opportunities employer, would you be more likely to gain a job if you stated you were disabled?

    My main concern is that these forms are often compulsory and in some cases identifiable (have the candidate name, numbers etc at the top). Surely a more sensible option to avoid any appearance of bias would be to have these forms completed ONCE a person gains the job, and not during the application process.
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    (Original post by RJ555)
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    It's not about who the firm employs, it's about who applies to do the job. Companies will/should have recruitment practices that ensure they are not discriminatory in their selection processes ie having standardised scoring mechanisms for filtering applications etc. However, these forms help them ensure that their job adverts are not discriminatory in terms of the language they use or the places they advertise. So they are about checking on diversity of applicant, not diversity of successful applicant. They need identifying details that link the form to a person in order to prove they aren't just making them up. Fill it in and pick a fight with something that really is an issue!
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    It's not about who the firm employs, it's about who applies to do the job. Companies will/should have recruitment practices that ensure they are not discriminatory in their selection processes ie having standardised scoring mechanisms for filtering applications etc. However, these forms help them ensure that their job adverts are not discriminatory in terms of the language they use or the places they advertise. So they are about checking on diversity of applicant, not diversity of successful applicant. They need identifying details that link the form to a person in order to prove they aren't just making them up. Fill it in and pick a fight with something that really is an issue!
    Are you saying if a job has 100 places of which 99 are filled by whites, then advertising campaign has not been successful and therefore "next time" hopefully adverts would be placed so that more (or even all) applicants are non-white?
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    (Original post by lotsofq)
    Are you saying if a job has 100 places of which 99 are filled by whites, then advertising campaign has not been successful and therefore "next time" hopefully adverts would be placed so that more (or even all) applicants are non-white?
    No. I'm saying that if a company has 100 places and gets 1000 applicants, all of whom are white, then the company needs to look at where and how it advertises, the language it uses, the skills/qualities it is asking for in the advert to make sure that it is not either directly or indirectly discriminating.

    Companies of any significant size should have HR processes in place to make sure that the actual selection processes are fair, so that if all 100 successful applicants are white, there should be evidence to justify why non-discriminatory criteria and processes were used and it was just coincidence. But without collecting this data on all applicants, separated out from successful applicants, they are unable to tell if there is any discrimination occurring earlier in the process.
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    (Original post by RJ555)
    It seems every job now requires some form of "equal opportunities and diversity questionnaire" to be completed (sometimes called "employment information forms"). Typical questions ask gender, race, and disability status, some ask sexuality and other criteria.

    Obviously employers state that this does not affect employment results, but if this was truly the case wouldn't they be redundant? For example if the questionnaires show a lack of a certain race or minority, surely the company would "do something about this" (increase advertising to that community with the hopes to employ more of these people), in a sense positively discriminating to meet "quotas"?

    For example say with the disability question, lets say a company had no disabled workers and wanted to gain an image of an equal opportunities employer, would you be more likely to gain a job if you stated you were disabled?

    My main concern is that these forms are often compulsory and in some cases identifiable (have the candidate name, numbers etc at the top). Surely a more sensible option to avoid any appearance of bias would be to have these forms completed ONCE a person gains the job, and not during the application process.
    Some companies guarantee interviews to disabled candidates who meet all of the minimum requirements, so this information can be used as part of the selection process.

    In general though, it's not, it's for monitoring of applications.

    I think you are right to have some concerns though. There have been studies in America that have shown that equally qualified candidates with 'black' sounding names are less likely to be called to interview.

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Updated: April 3, 2012
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