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HR Tip: Racial balance

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Q: Are we obliged to have a ratio of black employees that reflects the make-up of the local community? Should we make a point of taking on more black people in preference to white?

A: There is no obligation on you to have the same ratio, though if your recruitment procedures are totally objective one would expect a reasonable match. You certainly must not deliberately recruit one ethnic minority in preference to the other that would be race discrimination, which of course is unlawful. Instead you should do two things. First check your recruitment processes to ensure that there is no bias against one particular minority or race. You might for example find that a supervisor avoids taking on a particular minority because of some illogical belief that they are not good workers. Or you may find that the tests you give candidates penalises those whose home language is not English. Second put your recruitment tentacles into all communities. Ensure that job advertisements are placed in the newspapers that different minorities are more likely to read and go into schools and community groups to explain what your organisation does, the sort of vacancies that you have and how people should go about applying for them. If you are missing out on a significant portion of the local community you are probably missing out on some useful skills.

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One Response

  1. Racial Balance
    I would have thought that you would choose the best person for the job regardless of the surrounding community. If the person so happens to be black then so be it, but this should not be a condition for recruitment.

    I have found in my training experience that you can alienate the rest of the workforce if special measures are made just to cater for a specific minority, be they by race, gender or whatever. So if you know you employ based on those who can do the job you want go ahead and do so, spreading your advertising budget as wide as it can go and see what happens.

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