back to article 'Dear diversity hire...' Amazon's weapons-grade fail in recruitment email to woman techie

In its effort to attract a more diverse workforce, Amazon is sending mixed messages. An email shared online earlier today was sent by an Amazon Web Services recruiter to a woman encouraging her to apply for a software engineering position. The message kicked off with the subject line: "Diversity HIRE :: JOB :: Software …

  1. Mycho Silver badge

    Diversity. You're doing it wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Instant fix!

      Kill 90% of the white males in tech.

      Every other option will take time. How much time is required is a valid concern. Some would want it to take long enough to grab for power. Some would like it to be short enough that fairness is established quickly, but the notions of 'fair' vary greatly. Altogether, we need more concrete discussion and less posturing.

      So far I've never encouraged *anyone* to get into tech. So I do question some people's goals here. Personal life balance and all - it stinks.

      Before you slash away at that downvote button in great justice, how would you make fairness happen without terminating anyone's chances at the career of their choice?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. jMcPhee

      Equal Opportunity - they're doing it right. Hooray for government programs which promote gender and race based discrimination.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Diversity. You're doing it wrong.

      Absolutely. To fix the root cause we need more female aspies. The govt could do this by chucking the right chemicals in the water supply.

      I reckon if we only considered people with a well-rounded personality, the male-female balance in tech would be a lot more even.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        This post has been deleted by a moderator

        Some people don't get irony

        Our team is entirely ethnic / religous minority - just apparently ones that nobody cares about in tech.

        Funny how ethnic minorities that are successful are no longer "minorities"

    4. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      ???

      "the Dalberg and Intel report suggests a tech company with $10mn in operating profits could increase that by $1.5m to $2m by increasing minority representation five percentage points"

      I find it difficult to believe that there isn't a single company in Silicon Valley (which is both socially liberal and economically capitalistic) that hasn't already achieved spectacular success by doing exactly that * - ergo, I believe that statement to be empirically false.

      It also does not stand up to logical scrutiny. If a company is paying all its employees the same for the same position, regardless of gender or minority status, then given equal competence, the output would not change. So this statement is either claiming that women and minorities are MORE competent than white men, or (more plausibly) that you can pay equally competent women and minorities less for the same work.

      * and if anyone had done that, you can bet that it would be trumpeted to high heaven for all to hear and behold

      1. AndyS

        Re: ???

        > So this statement is either claiming that women and minorities are MORE competent than white men, or (more plausibly) that you can pay equally competent women and minorities less for the same work.

        Debate the figures if you like, but this is a false dichotomy. The reason for increased profits is that a diverse workforce makes better, more balanced decisions. To push the stereotypes, men take more risks than women, so having an all-male board means a higher chance of bankruptcy.

        More generally, a workforce (and particularly management) which reflects the target customer market is more likely to be successful within that market. Do you think, for example, that Snapchat would release Blackface filters if it had more black employees who understood the offence that would cause? Or that Instagram would release facial recognition that doesn't work on black people if they had a few kicking around to test it?

    5. GX5000
      Angel

      No, just don't do it at all, let meritocracy rule.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Meritocracy has difficulties in practice, which shouldn't be ignored. If we think we can tell - from a job application - who will be best at the job, we are deluding ourselves. The most we can hope for is to rule out some candidates who are obviously unsuitable.

        This often leaves a range of candidates who seem like they could do the job OK. Of course their underlying merit is not equal - but as far as we can (realistically) estimate their merit from a job application, we cannot tell who will be best.

        From this pool: do we hire the candidate most like ourselves - who in IT in the US/UK, likely means a young-ish white man? Or do we do something else? Meritocracy cannot answer this question.

        Until a few decades ago in the UK, many women could not have a career or had their career ended or damaged by a "marriage bar" - official, e.g. in the civil service, or unofficial - causing women to leave employment on getting married. In this unequal context, high-status jobs requiring experience were, by default, almost exclusively male. Yet many employers no doubt considered themselves meritocratic during this time.

        We are left with this unequal inheritance, and a corresponding male bias in high-status jobs (and believe me, IT is high status - compared to most of the alternatives).

        "Letting meritocracy rule" does not solve the problems.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    is it my fault?

    ..that i am white (born that way, like all the women, gays and trans folk)... male...(again sorry, but born that way) and working in IT (ok that is arguably personal choice, but still, played to my strengths).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: is it my fault?

      To be fair, it wasn't strengths played too (necessarily) but weaknesses in other fields. No way were you going to make it big in the pornograph or sex-worker fields, for instance. Probably politics was a closed door, you having insufficient guile and gall. I assume artistic flair was also lacking, due to you being an IT worker (just kidding! I'm the same as you!). You might easily tend toward outbreaks of insanity while working in daycare, whereas a steady, well-balanced female would dominate the situation with élan. He's just better suited in that case, on the average anyway. We all know why that is too.

      Point is, there's just too many of us white male coders around for some people's taste. Heh, I'd like to see someone say THAT about sex workers and pornograph stars!

      1. ST Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: is it my fault?

        > No way were you going to make it big in the pornograph or sex-worker fields, for instance.

        Don't misunderestimate me.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: is it my fault?

      No working in the field isn’t your fault, but people who assume women can’t program when women were actually responsible for many of the early inventions in software are a problem.

      Examples of inventions by women

      The whole idea of computer software

      Assembly Language

      Programming languages and compilers

      Command line interpreter

      Software engineering

      First program on general purpose computer

      Word Processor

      Relational Database

      Flight reservation software

      The software that put the first man on the moon

      Men have done a lot of stuff as well of course.

      Accounting software

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: is it my fault?

        All those things you mention are highly evolved concepts these days, but previously they were much less concrete. As concepts, they've been built from the ground up by many many people. To single out the one that 'laid the first brick' of an IT concept is to ignore the bulk of the work that's gone into creating the modern version. Basically everyone steals from everybody, but also adding new stuff along the way.

        But yes, the first person we know of that thought about making a program that a universal computing machine could follow was indeed a woman, and a credit to her sex too. :)

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: is it my fault?

        Then again, for some reason, computer tech has gained an allure as a rewarding and high paid profession among the masses.

        [Pauses to let laughter die down]

        Take another profession without the glamour, and nobody cares about its hiring diversity.

        Case in point, Tabitha Babbitt is generally accredited in the US with inventing the circular saw blade, but no one is screaming for more women in the woodworking industry. (Except maybe lonely lumberjacks)

        1. Noel Morgan

          Re: is it my fault?

          read Tabitha Babbitt and immediately thought of Lorena Bobbitt - entirely different person but also had a penchant for sharp tools....

          Ouch.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: is it my fault?

        Women outnumber 2-1 in medical school ( let alone in Nursing ) because men and women are different and choose to do different things.

        Here's a TOTALLY IRRELEVANT list of male medical innovations:

        1736 – Claudius Aymand performs the first successful appendectomy

        1744–1795 – Pierre-Joseph Desault First surgical periodical

        1747 – James Lind discovers that citrus fruits prevent scurvy

        1749–1806 – Benjamin Bell – Leading surgeon of his time and father of a surgical dynasty system of surgery

        1774 – Joseph Priestley discovers nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, ammonia, hydrogen chloride and oxygen

        1785 – William Withering publishes "An Account of the Foxglove" the first systematic description of digitalis in treating dropsy

        1790 – Samuel Hahnemann rages against the prevalent practice of bloodletting as a universal cure and founds homeopathy

        1796 – Edward Jenner develops a smallpox vaccination method

        1799 – Humphry Davy discovers the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: is it my fault?

          because men and women are different and choose to do different things.

          Men and women are different mostly due to acculturation rather than biology (excepting the obvious physical differences). There are no 'men's brains / women's brains' type of differences. Put a number of brains under the microscope and you couldn't tell which ones came from men and which ones from women.

          It's the culture which needs to change. The culture which (jokingly or otherwise) assumes that men who go into nursing must be gay, or men who become primary teachers must be paedophiles, or women who become engineers still can't parallel-park, or that women are better multi-taskers than men. It's things like this, whether silly or not, which reinforce stereotypes and discourage people from following their dreams.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: is it my fault?

            "Men and women are different mostly due to acculturation rather than biology (excepting the obvious physical differences). There are no 'men's brains / women's brains' type of differences. Put a number of brains under the microscope and you couldn't tell which ones came from men and which ones from women."

            Well, first men's brains are on average slightly larger than women's, so there are men's brains/women's brains differences. Second here is a link (National Institute for Health) to a scientific paper proving you wrong. In it, it is noted that Down syndrome is more likely to affect males than females.

            So, now that your sweeping general statement has been debunked, we now should ask whether there are any genetic conditions (hello, autism spectrum) that are not balanced between the sexes and that increase/decrease ability in some jobs.

            For example, if there were a genetic mutation affecting one in 100000 men and one in 200000 women, that massively improved distance judging and hand-eye coordination, then almost every top archer and snooker player in the world would be male. On the other hand, the average man and average woman would be almost exactly the same at archery, and so you'd see news reports asking where all the top female archers were, and what is holding them back (and 99.999% of all men as well, but, and here's the important bit, we are comparing two different populations).

            You of course don't see news reports asking why top female basketball players can't mix it up with the men because we all know that men are taller than women, but the tallest men are massively taller than the tallest women. (Tallest living man, 251cm, tallest living women, 221cm. But the average height difference is about 10-15cm.)

            I'm not saying that sexism doesn't exist (although it depresses me that every time someone states actual, reliable facts, certain people have to shout 'sexist'), but there are alternative explanations for the distribution in certain niche professions than sexism.

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: is it my fault?

              Well, first men's brains are on average slightly larger than women's

              On average. In other words, you couldn't take one brain and say whether it was a man's or a woman's. You'd have to sample a lot of them to be able to make a probabilistic assessment. In other words, there is a large overlap. That supports my first point. In any case, are you really going to claim that it is brain size which makes all the difference? I don't know about you, but I've met several children who could comfortably outthink many adults.

              In it, it is noted that Down syndrome is more likely to affect males than females

              Agreed. But this is a narrow case which doesn't refute my first point.

              So, now that your sweeping general statement has been debunked

              Really not the case. See above.

              And my second point was that acculturation is the main driver of inequality. To give a very extreme example, if the prevailing culture says to women from childhood, "You are just a sex slave whose best hope of survival and comfort is to give in to your alloted master", then you'd hardly be surprised if many girls grew up thinking that would be their most acceptable destiny. Nor would you be surprised that a boy would grow up thinking that some of those sex slaves could well be his.

              When I was a computing student 35 years ago, only one in five people on my course were women. In the place where I work now (a very enlightened place both now and historically compared to all the stories of discrimination we hear coming from Silicon Valley) the proportion is just about the same. Even then, you have to include the trainers and the admin assistants to get to that number, not just look at the techies and developers with similar qualifications to mine (and lets not even think about management level posts -- female representation was zero for a decade until earlier this week). Are you honestly going to claim that all of that is due to girly brainz?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: is it my fault?

                Here's the bit you ignored:

                "For example, if there were a genetic mutation affecting one in 100000 men and one in 200000 women, that massively improved distance judging and hand-eye coordination, then almost every top archer and snooker player in the world would be male. On the other hand, the average man and average woman would be almost exactly the same at archery, and so you'd see news reports asking where all the top female archers were, and what is holding them back (and 99.999% of all men as well, but, and here's the important bit, we are comparing two different populations)."

                So, yes, he is claiming that all of that can easily be explained by genetic mutations that, like Down's, affect girlies and boylies differently.

                And it is a much better explanation that the "oooh, sexist" explanation the feminazis continue to trot out with zero evidence of it.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: is it my fault?

                  Two points: One, you employed that made-up archery statistic badly, since by itself that would only suggest that 2/3 of the top archers would be male. Still a substantial difference, but nothing like the recent tennis row. Also, the fact that the mutation occurs often enough that there would be over 1000 men and 1000 women with it in the US would mean that other elements would dominate who were the top archers.

                  More importantly, we don't just hire the very best programmers. Companies also hire plenty of mediocre ones to fill the generic positions. Maybe you need to be autistic to be the "very best, most special" programmer, but there's a lot of room for all the non-crazies too.

                  It's a different bunch of crazies that think it's all overt sexism. There's lots of room for more subtle things like parental encouragement, peer pressure and crappy TV shows. All of which is more relevant than genetic mutations that affect a miserably small proportion of the population.

          2. JEDIDIAH
            Mushroom

            Re: is it my fault?

            In other words we must FORCE people into fields they have no interest in just to satiate your social justice fetish. Meanwhile, there are plenty of nasty jobs were women are under represented. NOBODY cares about those.

          3. Mr Han

            Re: is it my fault?

            Recent research suggests male and female brains do look different under a microscope.

            https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html

            https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/econ-rst082815.php

            After all, testosterone accounts for anatomical differences so why would there not also be differences between the male and female brain.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: is it my fault?

        There is of course, an assumption that people (or rather The Man) are assuming that women *can't* do these jobs, as opposed to them not *wanting* to do these jobs. Maybe it's due to a lack of autistic flair.

        Are there no female-run start-ups hiring only female staff and picking up the 28% additional profit provided by the gender pay gap?

      5. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Re: is it my fault?

        None of that is relevant if your "diversity" already reflects the rest of the profession or even the population at large.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Betokened

    FTA: It may as well have started with: "Dear token minority..."

    How so? The Social Justice Warriors insist that each and every identifiable minority (even one-eared hermaphrodites!) must be represented within an org by an appropriate percentage of the hirings, invariably based on that minority's representation within the general population. Putting aside the implicit assertion that all persons are exactly the same in all circumstances, I don't see how wanting to comply with the dictates of the SJW's demands qualifies as 'tokenism.'

    Is the real issue here the fact that this company was caught 'doing the right thing' with insufficient humility and deference?

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Betokened

      Having been the token for an interview, I heartily despise being the token for any reason for any purpose. It is demeaning to the person because it shows a complete lack of respect for the person's talents and abilities. And that lack of respect comes through loud and clear to the token.

      The problem many IT companies have is they have an absolutely disgraceful, miserable work-life balance. Many first class professionals realize there needs to be a fair balance and a recognition that family obligations are important. The worst seem to be companies founded by those in their 20's and became very successful quickly.

      1. find users who cut cat tail

        Re: Betokened

        Wanting more women working in IT is like wanting more women imprisoned. Yes, there is a large gender inequality. The IT companies would like more workers. The prisons would like more inmates. And in both cases the question is: Do we really want to send so many more people there?

        1. Chairo
          Pirate

          Re: Betokened

          Wanting more women working in IT is like wanting more women imprisoned.

          Not sure what you want to imply here. Women are clearly discriminated in our society. For example they receive far fewer Darwin awards.

          Or perhaps there might be a connection?!?

      2. SundogUK

        Re: Betokened

        "The problem many IT companies have is they have an absolutely disgraceful, miserable work-life balance."

        Then go work somewhere else. Some people thrive in those environments; why should they be denied the right to such?

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Betokened

      "Is the real issue here the fact that this company was caught 'doing the right thing' with insufficient humility and deference?"

      You're supposed to do it, but pretend that you're not doing it. Hire people on the basis of race, genital configuration, sexual preference, sexual identity, etc., but pretend you're still running a meritocracy, where you just happened to find a bunch of minority applicants that just happened to be more qualified than straight white males, right at the moment when you were being castigated for not having done all of this before.

      Remember, people in the grievance industry don't have any power if they don't have a bone to pick with you or anyone else. There's no way for anyone to "win" when they come-a-calling... just various means of losing. Hire on the basis of qualification and you end up with a workforce that doesn't look like you hired on the basis of race/sex/whatever (because the applicants weren't "diverse enough" either), or hire on the basis of identity more than qualification, pretend that's not the exact opposite of what real civil rights leaders like MLK Jr. really wanted, and then you're in trouble for tokenism. You're not meant to win; you're meant to grovel apologetically.

      It's like global thermonuclear war. The only winning move is not to play.

    3. Rackspanner

      Re: Betokened

      The issue that the author is highlighting is presumably that the imbalance in gender at Amazon is due to tacit discrimination on the part of hirers.

      By starting an email in the highlighted manner, Amazon is saying "we're interested in hiring you solely because of your gender, because we feel we have to" which is a little insulting for someone who may well be the most qualified person for the job and implies that the root issue (the discrimination) is actively being ignored.

      I'm not offering any solutions here, you may have noticed. Whatever the solution is it's going to involve a lot of compromises and a few deadends. But Amazon's approach here is clearly wide of the mark.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Betokened

        I wonder what happens to the system when a company has struck the correct 'balance' between all the various groups and end up having to turn qualified people away just because they would end up with too many of one particular group.

        At the moment that seems to be what's happening to white, hetro, males. What will the headlines be when that happens to a 'homosexual, gender-transposed, person of colour foreign national, with beliefs in one particular view of how the world is run who is also short and fat*'?

        *I'm adding height and weight in here too as they'll be next on the list. Do we/should we add ginger hair to the list? HHmm..tricky one that.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Betokened

        "The issue that the author is highlighting is presumably that the imbalance in gender at Amazon is due to tacit discrimination on the part of hirers."

        Of course. I suppose that means that the American NBA and NFL are racist, too, for being mostly black? I mean, if talent, aptitude, interest, and ability in all pursuits are truly randomly distributed across the population, without regard to sex, gender, race, socioeconomic status, etc., then why should a sports league be allowed to be so blatantly biased in favor of one race?

        Of course, the idea that talent, aptitude, interest, and ability in all pursuits is randomly distributed across the population is bunk, and everyone knows this is so. Still, it's the key premise in assuming that any organization or profession that doesn't accurately represent some kind of demographic chart is engaging in discriminatory hiring practices.

        I'd also wonder which demographic table a company should be using when designing hiring quotas (without calling it that, of course). Is it the demographic from the country in which the company is primarily located? That might not work in a place like the EU, where hiring and recruiting beyond a nation-state's borders is the norm. On the other hand, in a country as large as the US, are the national demographic figures really relevant to a company located in Silicon Valley, at the far west end of a continent-spanning country?

        Is it the demographics of the specific city in which the company is located that matters? Or perhaps the way to do it is to draw a circle around the company of a given radius, and all people living within that circle will form the new demographic?

        If we use that or the "city" method, a company could fix its "diversity problem" by moving to a city that already has the demographics necessary to balance its existing workforce. That can't be what anyone intended!

        One wonders what the crusaders of righteousness will be doing not only about the underrepresentaion of whites in the NBA and NFL as mentioned above, but also about the underrepresentation of males on American college campuses, or the underrepresentation of straight males in professions like airline flight attendants. Or does "diversity" only count when it favors certain identity groups, but not others?

        It's not really diversity then, is it? No one seems to be worried that the NBA is not very diverse at all, being nearly totally black, and that it doesn't represent the demographics of the nation or of most of the cities that are fielding mostly-black basketball teams, or any other apparent means of tabulating how many of this race and how many of that race we should have.

        If they accept that sports teams just want to win and that they would take a basketball-playing martian if he was any good, and note that while this has resulted in a non-diverse league, it doesn't imply that there's anything unsavory going on, why can't they accept that the same dynamic exists in areas where their favored "victim" groups appear to be underrepresented as well?

        Of course, I know the answer... it's because it's not supposed to be fair. It's supposed to bring power to the accusers, and it does, every time someone cowers and promises to do better. You can't win, so the best bet is to simply ignore the criticisms.

  4. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Diversity works!

    Diversity HIRE :: JOB :: Software Engineer @ Amazon

    Proof that Amazon hires even the intellectually challenged!

    1. Robert Moore
      Joke

      Re: Diversity works!

      Diversity HIRE :: JOB :: Software Engineer @ Amazon<P>

      Proof that Amazon hires even the intellectually challenged!

      Proof that Amazon hires ONLY the intellectually challenged!

      TFTFY

    2. snoggs

      Re: Diversity works!

      It's a Kinsley gaffe.

  5. Johnny Canuck

    umm...

    "Loden said doing so feeds into the backlash against women in tech by those who feel female candidates are getting jobs solely because of gender."

    Isn't that exactly what the offer was stating?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: umm...

      Yes, but YOU CANNOT SAY THAT.

      The feminazis won, see.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: umm...

        Since most of the people I know who work in IT are generally of the honest, outspoken, persuasion, then people who self-censor are not going to fit in well.

        Perhaps that's why they are under-represented in IT? It might also explain why there are so few politicians who understand technology.

  6. TheTick

    '"That just makes everyone in the organization angry and encourages the perception that this is not a merit-based hire," she said.'

    Yes - because it's clearly true and the perception is the reality.

  7. Rajiv_Chaudri

    Diversity used to have a positive meaning. The American Dream used to mean that any person, of any sex, any race or religion can succeed in the USA based on their Merit and Achievements.

    Today, Sillicon Valley has turned "Diversity" into an ugly code word for "Acceptable, selective racism."

    In the Sillicon Valley now, many companies have blatantly racist "Diversity" programs that will hire a less qualified Black candidate over a more qualified Indian, Chinese, Korean, White, etc. The "priveliged" black candidate gets hiring preference simply because of the color of their skin.

    America is going down an ugly slippery spiral of "acceptable racism" in the name of diversity. It seems that for the "model minorities" to get fair treatment, we must also march, loot, and blackmail corporations.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Really Are you from Silicon valley ? Bit a fun stats Blacks Make up 2.8% area yer hold 2.4% of the PHD. Tell me were are all of these unqualified blacks coming from ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Tell me were are all of these unqualified blacks coming from ?"

        Mexico

    2. jMcPhee

      Sorry, "Diversity" was always a politically correct way of saying reverse discrimination. It never had a positive meaning in business environments. It just meant filling quotas.

      1. Mark 110 Silver badge

        "Sorry, "Diversity" was always a politically correct way of saying reverse discrimination. It never had a positive meaning in business environments. It just meant filling quotas."

        Or alternatively it was a way of saying theres already positive discrimination in favour of white males and there needs to be an acknowledgement of that and a concious effort to be more fair in the recruitment and selection process.

        I am against quotas btw - thats an unintelligent way of addressing the issue.

        Personally I find a more diverse office a much more pleasant place to work. I have worked in pure grizzly middle aged white male offices and they are dreary awful places.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          wrt your now deleted post, if you think it's tough here, try Ars Technica, where you'll get downvoted for posting facts, or personal opinion, and hardly ever get an explanation.

          1. Mark 110 Silver badge

            It seems I overused the 'c' word.

            Anyway the gist of my previous post that the moderators rejected (never had that happen before) was that I'm interested to know why I'm getting downvoted for pointing out that:

            a. Diversity initiatives are a response to pre-existing positive discrimination in favour of white males.

            b. Quotas are the wrong way of dealing with it

            c. I would rather work in a multicultural office with plenty of women about than with pure stereotype white male techies (of which I am one btw - pure 47 year old, white male here)

            Anyway - its easy to click the downvote. Bit harder to justify being racist and misogynist. But then you can't be bothered.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I recall going through this about 40 years ago and it seems like history is repeating itself. I went to interviews in engineering but for a period of time, white males weren't being hired. At another point, Vietnam vets weren't being hired. Then the dam broke.. males who were Vietnam vets were in demand. At another point, the ideal job candidate was a 60-iish, black woman, single mother, and had one leg. I guess things don't change at all except we now have the SJW tag.

  8. Not also known as SC
    FAIL

    At the company I work for, two female colleagues were discussing an email they'd been sent about the company trying to redress the gender gap in terms of staff numbers and salary paid to women compared to men. From what I can gather, instead of improving the salary of my female colleagues up to a comparable salary to those obtained by male staff, the company was proudly boasting about efforts they were making to persuade young women to apply for a job in the company. Apparently having more women applying (not necessarily getting the jobs) is seen as a better measure of a company's (gender) diversity policies than actually giving the existing women employed by the company a decent (and deserved) pay rise.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I'm surprised they didn't go the other way and reduce the men's salaries. They would have cut costs and then issued bonuses all around the board.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        I'm surprised they didn't go the other way and reduce the men's salaries. They would have cut costs and then issued bonuses all around the board.

        That's an interesting thought exercise.

        I predict the more qualified would move on, leaving the men who would struggle to get employment elsewhere behind.

        If we are to assume the women have the same kind of skill distribution as the men (equal skills) with the same percentage of those skills throughout their ranks, then there would now theoretically be more qualified women in the company than men.

        These women could then push for pay raises* as they now stand out as being the best the company has. At which point the men would be (on average) lower salaries than the women. Role reversal.

        *I don't think this is the only way it could play out, just thinking out loud. For example, I don't believe women get as many pay raises as men (in general) because they don't push as hard for them. This also applies to the men who aren't daring/confident enough to risk losing their job because they pushed for too much.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      " instead of improving the salary of my female colleagues up to a comparable salary to those obtained by male staff, the company was proudly boasting about efforts they were making to persuade young women to apply for a job in the company"

      These two approaches are targeting two distinct issues. The first addresses pay disparity, while the second addresses the number of male vs. female employees.

      They could reasonably be expected to do both.

  9. Nick Z

    Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

    The problem with recruiting more women for diversity purposes is that only young women need apply.

    Once the woman gets older, then she'll have a hard time finding a job. Which is also true for older men.

    Why would young women want go into the IT industry and work for companies like Amazon, when the IT industry is so famous for its age bias?

    Why would young women want to have a career that lasts only 15 or 20 years, and then they aren't wanted anymore?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

      That's why IT is perfect for women.

      You start as a 21 year old new grad and by the time you saved enough for a house and have children at 30 you are too old and so can leave to look after the babies

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

        >You start as a 21 year old new grad and by the time you saved enough for a house and have children at 30 you are too old and so can leave to look after the babies

        But most women want to return to work after having children. Good luck with that in IT.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

          That was my point about IT there is no sexual discrimination - anybody over 35 is unemployable irrespective of gender

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

          > But most women want to return to work after having children. Good luck with that in IT.

          Some do. Some don't. I know an ex-COBOL programmer that's perfectly happy to stay away permanently. OTOH, I've worked with a number of ex-benchwarmers. Like anything else, they follow Sturgeon's Law. Some make a brilliant come back and others just sit around and take up space.

          Then again, it's not the California gold rush here. People should not mistake Silicon Valley for the rest of the industry. In some places, people actually believe in work-life balance and trying to slave drive the work force won't get you very far.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Devil

      Re: Diversity mixed with discrimination doesn't work

      Yeah. Your entire post pretty much describes why women are far more likely to go into law or medicine or even nursing and teaching.

      It's kind of a shit job to begin with and the media decides to shit on us some more. Why would the social justice types think they could attract ANY ONE at that point? They just slandered the entire industry and put up a big fat "stay away" sign.

  10. John Stirling

    Improve gdp?

    OK, I'll bite.

    Increasing representation is a good thing. Being diverse enough to represent a fair microcosm of society is a good nice thing.

    But how does that translate into half a trillion more cash?

    1. BoldMan

      Re: Improve gdp?

      Correlation != Causation ?

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Improve gdp?

      @John

      Exactly what I thought? Is it because the employers can pay minorities less because they're clad of the job? :-/

      Doesn't really help...

  11. PhilipN Silver badge

    Diversity : easy

    My Club have a committed diversity policy. We place invitations for new members in the Daily Star. Applicants are told to send their footmen to deliver the application and references from three existing members to the tradesmen's entrance. We even warn them that we set the dogs on anyone not attired in proper livery showing the regiment and coat of arms.

    Proudly doing our bit!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We lost, get over it

    Where have you been ?!

    Decent, normal people who understand that men and women enjoy different things and are good at different things LOST !

    The feminazis took over the media and won, get over it !

    1. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: We lost, get over it

      No, people ( irrespective of gender, race, culture or creed ) enjoy different things.

      I, like 90% of the IT people I've met, couldn't give a flying monkey's toss what gender you are, what god you pray to, if you like making models of the Cutty Sark out of lolly sticks, going to S&M clubs on a Tuesday night, whatever, so long as you muck in when there's a problem, help get it sorted before we all get our arse chewed by upper management for being useless and ultimately outsourced to cloud management services!

  13. MrZoolook
    Facepalm

    If only...

    If only there was a way to select employees based on something other than a requirement to fill minority quotas, mistakes like this might not happen.

    Some kind of merit based system, maybe?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: If only...

      Unfortunately the merit based system is applied by people with inherent bias.

      If you can suggest a way to eliminate that without all the other baggage that crops up from the current methods then you have money coming to you in a big way.

  14. ukgnome Silver badge

    I once lost out on a role because of a diversity hire.

    As I knew the interviewer through LinkedIn I asked if there was anything that I could of done to secure the role. He suggested (jokingly) that if I turned homosexual and lost a leg then I would be in a great place for this role.

    I understand why positive discrimination exists but don't agree it should be the only reason to hire someone.

    Fortunately these days I tick a couple more boxes as I am bald/ginger and northern.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Joke

      Fortunately these days I tick a couple more boxes as I am bald/ginger and northern.

      I never thought I'd see those attributes mentioned in the same sentence as the word 'fortunately'. The world is indeed a very strange place :P

      Also: Bald & ginger? Do you get your pubes out at interviews then or what?

      1. 's water music Silver badge
        Happy

        Also: Bald & ginger? Do you get your pubes out at interviews then or what?

        Nope, now the beard is his only visible hair, nobody can tell that he is not a proper ginge.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        .. blind them with the fire crotch!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It is all in a days work.

        Sir Runcible Spoon,

        Re: Also: Bald & ginger? Do you get your pubes out at interviews then or what?

        Whatever it takes !!!

        Getting that job can be hard !!! ;)

        I am also against Quotas but as you stated the inherent bias towards 'White Male' is a big problem to solve.

        I have wondered, is inverse 'Minstral'* likely to be seen as racially provocative ???!!!

        [*For American Readers: See http://nostalgiacentral.com/television/tv-by-decade/tv-shows-1950s/the-black-and-white-minstrel-show/]

        This was on British TV as entertainment when I was a child, you can imagine the 'fun' I had at school !!!

  15. Christian Berger Silver badge

    If they only were trying to solve actual problems...

    ...like asking for proper social and education system, so everybody can choose the way they want to live, without fear of slipping into poverty then we'd have some actual progress.

    It's much easier to blame all of the worlds problems on people who share less than 90% of your views.

    1. Pinjata
      Mushroom

      Re: If they only were trying to solve actual problems...

      People choose poverty when they disrespect the free education they receive, when they get pregnant before marriage, when they commit a disproportionate amount of crimes.

      What more can society do? The "reverse discrimination" in the education system appear to have made things worse, blacks are let in into higher education only to fail the courses and end up with huge debts. "Reverse discrimination" in hiring practices brand blacks and women as diversity hires pulling down those who actually qualify for the work.

      "Surviving" both the bias in education and hiring practices I know for a fact that the white and yellow male coworkers have what it takes.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: If they only were trying to solve actual problems...

        "blacks are let in into higher education only to fail the courses and end up with huge debts."

        Did you really just say that? "let in"?

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Devil

          Re: If they only were trying to solve actual problems...

          Some ARE let into elite schools where they can't make the grade. This is true of affirmative action in general.

          It's the odd fluke that someone doesn't meet their selection criteria not because they came from some crummy inner city high school but that they majored engineering rather than under water basket weaving.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I checked the minority box on an application once

    And I got the job with a very easy phone interview. Payed $90k. The other 2 guys hired at the same time were both African American. I was Polish American...

    Just check the box, and identify as a minority.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I checked the minority box on an application once

      Hey, no fair - I bet anyone could get a job with a well placed $90k to grease the wheels...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I checked the minority box on an application once

      I'm disabled, Catholic, and the grandchild of an immigrant. I'm also straight, white and male. Only two of these things you can tell from looking at me, so I'm sure there is room for shenanigans.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds a lot like the "Underpants Gnome" strategy

    Step 1: Hire more "diversity" candidates

    Step 2: ...

    Step 3: Profit!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So why are startups less diverse?

    Given that anybody can startup a business, could somebody invent a narrative for the reported lack of diversity in startup businesses, which can't afford the "luxury" of choosing talent on ethnic origin. And why aren't these minorities starting their own businesses?

    I suppose it'll all be my fault as usual: Done down by years of slavery, repression, they are no longer able to, finance is doled out by racist white guys, white people won't buy from firms started by black guys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So why are startups less diverse?

      You are not too far from the truth with your apparent joke.

      Non-whites & Woman ARE discriminated against to get finance for starting their own Businesses.

      The Banks are also more likely to chase them and push them to retrieve their monies than 'Whites'.

      You may not know this or chose to ignore it but it is true.

      The same biases that exist in hiring people exist throughout society .....quelle surprise !!!

      Bias & prejudice are rife, just more cleverly hidden than in the past.

      Being publically biased is not seen as good but how do you control more subtle attacks that get laughed off as being over sensitive or misunderstandings.

      If you try to push any of these things forward you are more likely to get 'something' written in your HR records than the so called perp as the bias is so cleverly played.

      You may not believe this but I am sure many of the 'non-white' readers will recognize the 'game'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So why are startups less diverse?

        To the downvoters:

        Here is a link to an article in Bloomberg of 2013 where it was admitted that in relation to gaining credit "... black and Hispanic business owners are less likely to be approved than whites, even after controlling for characteristics like credit score or the type of business."

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-04-29/race-matters-in-funding-small-businesses

        Also see in relation to gaining funding for Research grants (US NIH):

        http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/nih-finds-using-anonymous-proposals-test-bias-harder-it-looks

        I can find many more quite easily but would hope that the pattern is begining to become obvious.

        Society is full of biases and they ARE being acted upon whether you want to admit or not !!!

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: So why are startups less diverse?

          ""... black and Hispanic business owners are less likely to be approved than whites, even after controlling for characteristics like credit score or the type of business."'

          Did anyone check to see if black and Hispanic business owners are less likely to pay back loans on time, even after controlling for characteristics like credit score or the type of business?

          It's a serious question. Banks are in the business of making money, not promoting racial bias, and their loan calculations are based on statistical figures that predict the odds that they will get their money back.

          You can't simply look at one side of the race issue without looking at the other. If there is a commensurate correlation between race and repayment rate even after characteristics like credit score or the type of business are controlled for, then the loan behavior of banks is based on financial risk, not racial bias. Assuming, of course, that the claims of racial disparity are true in the first place.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: So why are startups less diverse?

        "You may not believe this but I am sure many of the 'non-white' readers will recognize the 'game'."

        If you go about in life with the expectation that you will be discriminated against at every turn by a hateful and racist society, you will no doubt find all kinds of anecdotes to support your thesis.

        However, if you go about with the expectation that you will be treated fairly by the vast majority of people, that life just sucks sometimes and it isn't because you're [insert name of aggrieved group], and that most people want the same things as you do out of life, then you will find many anecdotes to support that assertion as well.

        There's a few different forces at work here, including confirmation bias and self-fulfilling prophecy. Just because one believes that all of his misfortune in life being because of the unfair actions of others doesn't make it so. Life's not fair, and we all have crap happen to us that we don't deserve. I've had a lot of the same things happen to me that various black people on TV have cited as examples of the kinds of racial bias they have to face, even though I'm a white guy.

        That's not to say that there isn't any real racial bias going on. It's just that so much of what some people suffering from the "victim" mentality think of as proof that they're not in control of their own destiny and that they're in a system that hates them and wants to punish them... is just life being the crap sandwich that life sometimes is, for all of us. And with the so-called "defenders" of the racial minorities calling everything (like the donation of Dr. Seuss books to a school) "racism," no one is going to believe it anymore when it really does exist.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the problem?

    So what if women get jobs just, because they're a woman, regardless of merit. I personally welcome this. .

    I don't even mind taking on some of the increased workload because of their inability to do the job.

    As long as they are blonde, have big tits, nice arse and wear a short skirt and lovely high heeled glossy patent shoes.

    Diverse away!

    1. Pinjata

      Re: What's the problem?

      Giving said employee a complement may get you fired... No thanks.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: What's the problem?

        Giving said employee a complement may get you fired

        Wouldn't giving them a complement be a perfect example of diversity?

      2. BoldMan

        Re: What's the problem?

        > Giving said employee a complement may get you fired... No thanks.

        Depends on the compliment... "Nice tits!" or "i really liked that new method you added to the model"

    2. GX5000
      Facepalm

      Re: What's the problem?

      That's also the type to get your job after accusing you of such and such by the way dude...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the problem?

      > blonde

      Racist! (Brunettes are clearly hotter anyway.)

  20. Toltec

    If minorities are supposed to get positive discrimination...

    How come most jobs are given to stupid people.

    1. GX5000
      Angel

      Re: If minorities are supposed to get positive discrimination...

      Drones that follow orders are always more accommodate than workers that need to get things done (and question)

  21. Rajiv_Chaudri

    Please stop with the bullshit phrase: "positive discrimination."

    There is nothing "positive" about corporate sponsored bigotry, racism, and sexism.

  22. GX5000
    Facepalm

    Failures abound

    Diversity Consultant - Someone who didn't take STEM to bitch about not enough X in STEM

  23. perlcat

    Occasionally...

    The SJW's infesting the HR departments open their mouths and a truth comes out. Not very often, though.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Women are ungrateful...

    Here's the copy I sent our agency - not one applicant. And women moan about discrimination in technology...

    Developeresse Wanted!

    Hey ladies! Bored of the ironing? That Dyson your hubby bought you for your birthday too complex to use? Well come and work for us as a developeresse. It's a bit like typing in a Facebook post, except your pretty lady fingers will be working on code for us! You'll be tickled pink when you make your first delivery (our CEO's dry cleaning! Only kidding, girls!).

    We've painted your area of the floor all pink, we've installed lady keyboards with the tiniest of keys, and instead of mice (ugh! know what I'm saying, girls!) we have... kittens. We've even got extra wide parking bays for your Fiat 500s and your Minis, and other brightly coloured small under-powered cars on finance.

    You might be paid a bit less than the men, but then again, you'll get countless lippy and gossip breaks and as many of those weird toilet breaks you all take together as you can manage. And, let's be honest, you'll all fall pregnant (probably from one of us! We're a good looking bunch of lads! Only kidding girls!) so you'll be off weeks after you arrive. And I bet you get your hubby or boyfriend to pay for everything anyhow. Your sort always does.

    The only small thing we ask is to get us a coffee from time to time, and when you're in halter neck tops, short skirts and sandals in summer, whilst us men still have to wear the same old chinos and shirts - come and parade past our desks! We could do with the eyeful! And if you've got the monthly on... be discrete ladies! We don't all need to know... don't get mardy - everyone knows that a pouting face now is a lined face five years later.

    We run a strictly equal opportunities office - you're all equally game for a bit of flirting and joking, and a bit of bantz from the boys!

    So come on ladies! Let's hear the click of those high heels and joyous feminine laughter, and let's smell the waft of your perfume! We can't wait!

    No munters. No smokers. If you've hit the wall, reverse and go elsewhere.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open discussion on topic, no.

    Comments at this site are censored and this is, IME, the most sensitive of topics so if you are reading this it is because there are those wanting an appearance of open discussion, which is all that can exist here.

    Many other commenters here have touched on this but hiring someone for reasons other than their ability to do their work undermines those hired only because they can do the work. This becomes apparent in emails like the one in the article but also every interaction with management and HR. Hire someone for their Gender or DNA and they are always in partial compliance. A minor advantage but it becomes a major advantage when leveraged well.

    Of course pointing that out results in career limiting attacks, soon people are not questioning the right and wrong of their company or it's actions, they just follow orders. What could go wrong with that?

    I'd like to remain employed so I say, Nuthing! Nuthing is wrong with that!

  26. JRW

    20 Weeks Paid Leave

    In the floods of people shouting at others they wouldn't listen to anyway because they are so closed minded I can’t see anyone questioning the offer of 20 weeks paid leave. For me this is the interesting typo and almost everything else just wind.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 20 Weeks Paid Leave

      26 to 40 weeks 100% paid maternity is pretty standard for major corporations in Europe.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Behind their 'paywall'

    Amazon treat their customers like kings and their employees like slaves.

    I don't think they discriminate as such but they've doubtless uncovered some metric that diversity is more profitable.

    Make no mistake, they're highly efficient and highly ruthless, as an employee they expect religious zeal for their Leadership Principles and total devotion to their cause. "Have Fun, Work Hard and Make History" the motto goes, but they don't care about Fun and "Make History" really means "Make (us) Money".

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A more interesting questions is whether tech companies represent the diversity and attainment of graduates from Engineering and Computer Science degrees. Somewhere along the line - probably at 8-14yo - there is a drop off of girl's choosing STEM subjects. One solution is to recast these subjects as foundations to understanding, thinking and making... 'design' would be one flavour of this.

    tl;dr - we need more women to have a passion for STEM.

  29. NanoMeter

    21% blacks and 9% hispanics?

    Black and africans are 13% of the population, while hispanics are 17% in the US. I'd say the blacks are more than represented at Amazon. Worse with hispanics.

  30. DainB Bronze badge

    Advice for young women

    Few years ago I was asked in quite informal situation to give advice to pretty and as such fairly clueless female high school graduate which career path should she choose in life.

    My advice was more like a few points plan.

    1. Choose Engineering or IT degree. With short skirt and crop top you won't even need to do anything to graduate with flying colors, there's enough dorks who will be happy to do everything for you just for a mere hope to get piece of that ass(set).

    2. Join large IT or Engineering multinational as a diversity hire. Again, no need to do anything, there's enough men around to do it for you.

    3. Since you absolutely suck at everything technical and you can't be fired because of gender quotas those companies need to maintain you will be very soon moved out of the way, which usually means promoted to management.

    4. Repeat #2 and #3 until you get to desired height in company, marry one of C level execs and live happily ever after without ever needing to work again.

    She went to college to study English Literature.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most recruiters...

    ...don't give a shit they just want their commission, assuming its like a job agency, but internal. They don't pay attention to what they are sending etc.

    I've had a job agency send me the private e-mail address of one of their other clients, they didn't appear to understand why that was a data breach.

    They've sent mass e-mails without blind copying everyone else in so I was then able to gather quite a bit of detail of one of their clients.

    And more.

  32. Reality_Ccheque

    Quotas, but don't admit it.

    I've never supported quotas as the correct approach, but now we've had the conversation and that is what we've decided, why do we have to pretend that we're NOT using quotas?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quote in the article:

    "Loden said doing so feeds into the backlash against women in tech by those who feel female candidates are getting jobs solely because of gender. "That just makes everyone in the organization angry and encourages the perception that this is not a merit-based hire," she said."

    So companies have to give female candidates jobs just because of their gender but you're not allowed to say it.

    Slavery is Freedom, War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the goal is to have their workforce represent the population mix then Amazon has already over rotated: "In November 2014, Amazon said 15 per cent of its US workers were black and 9 per cent were Hispanic. As of July 2016, those figures had risen to 21 per cent and 13 per cent respectively". Since the US Census https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045216 estimates that the Black population is 13.3% of the total and Hispanic is 17.8% they must now be discriminating against whites in their hiring practices.

  35. Reality_Ccheque

    If your're going to skew the playing field in favour of this or that group, don't be surprised when people find out you're discriminating, and don't be surprised when there is a backlash.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019