Is it right or is it wrong to launch minority quotas at work?

Despite improvements over the last few decades, there are still prejudices and resistance in the hiring of professionals belonging to minority groups. More than a discrimination, this also results in companies with a homogeneous professional structure in which not all segments of society are represented. Although the subject matter is delicate, it is necessary to talk about it since both its causes and consequences concern us all as citizens.

As a practical example, history shows us that for a long time women were deprived of rights such as studying, voting, and working. Similarly, for some generations, people with special needs had no access to certain social rights that prevented them from fully exercising citizenship, as well as the right to work. Nowadays, most of us (particularly in Western societies) understand how outdated and unfair these thoughts were. However, it was only since the second half of the last century that strong discussions arose about the rights of these minorities directed at their inclusion in the marketplace. Since then, in order to reverse the framework of exclusion of minorities and to overcome existing discrimination in society, one of the measures adopted was the creation of a quota system for employment.

How minority quotas work

At present, in many countries where there is a legislation concerned with the inclusion of minorities in the work environment, these have proven to be effective – such as the inclusion of trainees entering the job market. Ironically, though, the very fact that we need rules for inclusion of minorities reveals that society is prejudiced and excluding. In this context, discussions about how to deal with disagreements within organizations are increasingly constant; sexual orientation, gender, race or disability became a reason to characterize the person and generate a certain discomfort in society. Unfortunately, many societies are still stratified, where access to educational opportunities and positions of prestige in the labor market are defined by economic and racial origin – hence many governments choosing to implement such quota system.

This system aims at guaranteeing a percentage of the roles to minority groups based on gender, ethnicity, race, disability, etc. Naturally, there are those who agree and those who oppose such policy, which creates a kind of political dilemma. On one side, it provides opportunities for those who have been for long considered as part of disadvantaged social groups. On the other side, many see a quota system as a prejudice in itself and it won’t solve the problem of discrimination, arguing that the solution lies in equal rights to access in education.


The role of minority quotas at the workplace

As an intrinsic part of many organizations, there is a concept related to organizational culture or corporate culture. This represents a set of habits and beliefs established through norms, values, attitudes and expectations and shared by all members of the organization. In other words, it is the “guidebook” that distinguishes one organization from the other. Hence, the culture of an organization implicitly brings certain rules to the selection of new employees, where the individual entering the organization must adapt to the corporate culture.

In contrast, diversity management programs proposed by many companies since the 1990s show a growing concern in generating social inclusion in the corporate world. Consequentially, dealing with the issue of minority inclusion beyond quotas has shown to be healthy for practices in the work environment. In turn, this can be translated into more efficient and effective ways for the organization to accomplish its mission and achieve its goals. For sure this article haven’t clear everything on this topic and if you want more information you can read this working experience essay.

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