PC Culture

Hiring People Based on Merit Deemed Problematic

Job seekers at TechFair in Los Angeles, Calif., March 2018. (Monica Almeida/Reuters)
Suggesting that people from minority groups couldn’t get hired based on their talents alone is what’s racist.

According to the Office of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas-Austin, hiring people based on merit is problematic because it harms minority groups.

According to an article in The College Fix, the office was launched last month to deal with “the income inequality gap for overlooked communities.”

“The problem is that in the past companies have advocated for a meritocratic way of hiring,” states the “About” page for the office. “The major issue with this approach is that if you limit your scope to a certain segment of the population and claim that is all the talent you can find, of course, you are going to remain blind to highly talented diverse candidates who often graduate from non-ivy league, (sic) non-traditional institutions.”

Of course, the idea that companies should not be hiring candidates based on their ability to perform the job is not only insane, it’s also incredibly bad for business. If a company wants to succeed — which I’m pretty sure most companies do — then it’s going to want to hire the people who are going to make it the most likely that success will happen. Hiring people based on their merits isn’t racist; it’s called “not being a self-sabotaging idiot.”

In fact, oddly enough, I think that what is racist is the idea that hiring based on meritocracy and hiring a diverse group of candidates are mutually exclusive. Think about it: This kind of talk seems to suggest that people from minority groups couldn’t get hired based on their talents alone, that they need some sort of special system in order to find work. I don’t believe that this is the case. Yes — I believe that there are many people in minority groups who have the talents and abilities to succeed in their careers when being judged on those talents and abilities alone. I don’t think this is racist; I think it’s the opposite.

To be fair, I do think that valuing diversity in a company is not only admirable, but also beneficial. After all, hiring people who come from diverse backgrounds is a great way to enrich any company with diverse perspectives and ideas. I’d also agree with the office’s suggestion to branch out from Ivy League schools when doing hiring. Ivy League schools can be very expensive, and there are plenty of very smart people who could have attended these sorts of schools based on their intelligence who were unable to solely because of their economic status. Hiring these sorts of people isn’t just kind or altruistic, it is also smart and good for business. But the thing is, whether or not something is “good for business” should always be the standard when making business decisions. It’s good to look at diverse groups of people when selecting candidates, but the standard on which those candidates are judged should always be on their merit. That’s what’s most fair — and what gives any business the greatest chance of becoming a prosperous one.

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