Workforce Diversity Starts with Diverse Pipelines

You wouldn’t fish for barracuda in a pond, or fresh water trout in the ocean, but every day, recruiters attempt to meet their company’s workforce diversity objectives by trolling through profiles of similar candidates on social networking sites.

Experts are sounding an alarm after a quick review of the user demographics of the most popular sites shows that minorities are underrepresented on social or professional networking sites. In fact, most users are Caucasians between the ages of 18 and 40 and some sites only attract highly educated white people without children.

Over time, there’s no doubt that an applicant pool primarily sourced through social or professional networking sites will mirror their analogous demographics. Worse yet, candidates that don’t have access to the Internet may claim that they were unfairly discriminated against in the recruiting process.

Are we making a mountain out of a molehill? Perhaps, but experts warn that plaintiffs’ lawyers are monitoring the situation and could pounce on the right opportunity, if the EEOC doesn’t act first. The EEOC sued numerous employers for discrimination in 2011 including retailer Bass Pro Shops for failing to hire African-Americans and Hispanics in September and restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse in October, for refusing to hire workers over the age of 40.  Plus, U.S. employees filed 99,947 charges of job discrimination with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011, which was the highest number of job bias complaints filed by employees in the EEOC’s 46-year history.

So, unless you want to be next on the list, pipeline diversity needs to be a priority in 2012.

Image Credit: Konstantin Chagin/Shutterstock

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