An unforeseen consequence of recession — fewer people of color being hired

LatinaLista — This week’s Newsweek magazine cover story proclaims what everyone has been waiting for — the recession is over!
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Of course, such a proclamation is being dissected all across the blogosphere and on talk radio but the author of the article says the determination to call the recession is actually based on a technicality:

…they mean economic output has stopped contracting… Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth alone can’t feed a family, or pay a mortgage. Cursed with a high national debt load and blessed with a dynamic, growing workforce, the U.S. economy needs annual growth of at least 1.5 percent just to feel like we’re standing still.
Worse, the data point that means the most to our psychological well-being–unemployment–is likely to keep climbing. The loss of 6.5 million jobs since December 2007 has spurred the sharpest rise in the unemployment rate since the 1930s. As manufacturing jobs move overseas and companies struggle to further reduce costs, unemployment–which stands at 9.5 percent–is likely to rise above 10 percent.

An article in Workforce Management magazine concurs with Newsweek’s findings and discovered that conservative estimates show that 15 million unemployed workers are applying for only 2.5 million job openings.
The article says that recruiters are so overwhelmed with the number of applications that they receive for each job posting that an unforeseen consequence of the recession is starting to materialize in the labor force — an increase in racial discrimination in hiring practices.


From the article, the racial discrimination appears unintentional. The problem is that the people in charge of hiring don’t want to deal with the hundreds of applications that have become the norm in response to a single job posting.
So, they’ve resorted to a method that makes their pool of applicants more controllable. More and more recruiters seem to be using their college alumni networks.
John Younger, president and CEO of Accolo Inc., a network-based recruitment process outsourcing firm based in Larkspur, California, says, “”We’re seeing this more and more as the unemployment rate goes up.”
The stats seem to back up Younger’s observations.

In June, the official unemployment rate hit 14.7 percent for blacks and 12.2 percent for Hispanics, compared with 8.7 percent for whites. Racial disparities in the unemployment rates appear across all levels of educational attainment.

The strides made in corporate diversity are going down the drain since the networks used by those in charge of hiring are not reflective of the diversity that exists either in broader networks or an open call for applications.
As the articles points out, cutbacks in companies’ Human Resources departments don’t help matters either when the staff is limited to deal with the high volume of applications.
So what is the solution?
1. Job postings must be more detailed in what the company is looking for in an applicant to discourage those who don’t qualify from applying.
2. A minimum of three networks should be used to distribute the job announcement.
3. HR officials need to understand that while it may be a pain to interview and weed out hundreds of applicants, it’s also a more painful time for those same applicants who desperately need a job. They should be afforded the respect every unemployed person deserves.
4. And lastly, the diversity status at a company should be reviewed every few months to see where the company’s current commitment level to diversity stands.

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11 Comments

  1. Traci said:

    “And lastly, the diversity status at a company should be reviewed every few months to see where the company’s current commitment level to diversity stands.”
    How about letting a company hire the most qualified people. The only way for a company to survive in this economy is to hire the best people, without regard for diversity. Diversity quotas permit hiring of less qualified people, making corporations less than world class competitors. Lastly, diversity quotas violate the constitution’s equal protection clause. You propose to treat white people after the fashion of Orwells’s “Animal Farm”, where some animals are more equal than others.

  2. Tee said:

    Unfortunately, I didn’t need a news article or statistics to point out this fact.
    My husband has been out of work since February. He is very Latino in appearance and name.
    It doesn’t matter how many jobs he applies to, how over qualified he is, how nice his resume looks – it feels like they take one look at him and his name and he’s got no chance.
    We’re trying to remain hopeful but we’ve joked about putting an Anglo name on his resume to see if he gets a call back. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
    Maybe we should just be happy it hasn’t come to the “forced repatriation” of Latinos that happened during the Great Depression… at least not yet.

  3. Karen said:

    Re: “How about letting a company hire the most qualified people.”
    That won’t happen unless diversity is taken into account. You can’t find the best qualified person unless you have the biggest talent pool possible.

  4. Traci said:

    “That won’t happen unless diversity is taken into account. You can’t find the best qualified person unless you have the biggest talent pool possible.”
    So you think that racism is so prevalent that companies go out of their way to hire lesser folk? In my opinion, today’s companies are success oriented and will hire the best people they can get, regardless of race. Due to competitiveness, they can no longer afford racial discrimination in their hiring practices. Unfortunately, some fields of endeavor are underpopulated with minorities, so they may feel forced to accept less qualified people to avoid law suits. Forced diversity is not practical.
    Asians practically have a lock on certain fields. Is it ok to hire just Asians, or must the go in search of persons of another race, something that might not yield the desired results of the best person? This effort to be diverse is not always compatible with hiring the best qualified people.

  5. cookie said:

    Nothing stops minorities from applying for the same jobs as whites. But when push comes to shove the most qualified person should be hired no matter what their race is and that is what Traci is saying and I agree with her. This diversity quota crap is BS!

  6. Kenny said:

    “That won’t happen unless diversity is taken into account. You can’t find the best qualified person unless you have the biggest talent pool possible.”
    White people still amount to 73 percent of the population, or 219 million people, a sufficient sized pool to draw from for any job. The idea that diversity is necessary is an invention of those who make their living at promoting hate and discontent by exaggerating the extent of racism in this country. For them, national unity is anathema, as they would ultimately become superfluous. It was commonality, not differences that made Europeans establish a successful democracy in this country.

  7. Evelyn said:

    Educate yourselves. Here
    or here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aH-WSqanyQ
    “The Color of the Race Problem Is White”
    a lecture by Professor Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin
    author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege
    recorded March 30, 2009
    (lecture, 28 minutes; discussion, 24 minutes)
    If after listening to the Professors lecture you hurl personal insults my way for posting his lecture, or his way for slapping you in the face with the TRUTH and a dose of REALITY you will accomplish proving he is right and you are left with nothing to debunk his statements except refocusing the discussion to show your ignorance by hurling personal insults at the messengers.

  8. cookie said:

    The problem with you Evelyn, is that your are nursing old grudges from the past and had hate instilled in you for the white race or at least whites that are not self-loathing and think that today we owe minorities everything for the sins of the past. I have read your racist rants in HB and counted you using the word racist or racism 7 times in two short sentences all directed at white people, those who oppose illegal immigration and the whole Republican party. You are obsessed and you don’t even see your own racism. You need professional help for your neurosis and constant living in the past. Sure racism stills exists some in the white race but so does it exist among minorities now. You fail to ackowledge that and concentrate on only white racism for all the reasons I stated above. Nothing you say because of this has any credibility because you are blinded by your own racism and biasness.

  9. Evelyn said:

    Cookie I am glad you agree the Professor is right.
    It’s like I said, “If after listening to the Professors lecture you hurl personal insults my way for posting his lecture, or his way for slapping you in the face with the TRUTH and a dose of REALITY you will accomplish proving he is right and you are left with nothing to debunk his statements except refocusing the discussion to show your ignorance by hurling personal insults at the messengers.”

  10. cookie said:

    If your idea of truth is that white Americans sat on a porch drinking tea while it was all minorities that built this country, then you don’t know what truth is. Yes, I read that nonsense from you in HB. I could on about all the other lies and racist comments you made but this is a different blog.
    Why don’t you respond to my last post sentence by sentence, Evelyn? You won’t because you know I have spoken the truth about you.
    You are the queen of personal insults, hypocrite!

  11. Evelyn said:

    cookie :
    If your idea of truth is that white Americans sat on a porch drinking tea while it was all minorities that built this country, then you don’t know what truth is. Yes, I read that nonsense from you in HB. I could on about all the other lies and racist comments you made but this is a different blog.
    Why don’t you respond to my last post sentence by sentence, Evelyn? You won’t because you know I have spoken the truth about you.
    You are the queen of personal insults, hypocrite!
    E
    Hit a serious nerve, did I. Ha! Ha! Lovely Hissy fit. There’s nothing better to watch then the truth slapping a racist square in the face.
    You should try debunking what is written in history books instead of hurling attacks at my person.
    But you cant because you have no credable proof. Frustration is hard to swallow.

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