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

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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