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Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia
68

Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

(OP)
So... I work for a large-ish consultancy in Australia. Recently they have introduced quotas. 50% of new hires must be female. Also, as there is a lack of female representation in senior positions, preference must be given to a female rather than a male when promotion time comes around.

I think this is all a bit backwards and trying too hard. With something like 15-20% of university graduates being female, a 50% minimum hiring rate is asking for trouble IMO.

What are peoples thoughts on this?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Well, some might argue that "positive discrimination" is still discrimination.

If I was a relatively junior male employee then I might be thinking my chances of advancement may be better elsewhere and plan accordingly - your employer may or may not care.

Simplistically it would also seem that the most important thing should be who is the best candidate, and any preference over gender, race, sexuality, veteran status, age... even with the intent of 'affirmative action' should perhaps be secondary.

Will your employer actually drop their recruitment requirements, or wait longer to fill slots or...

Then others proselytize the benefits of diversity for diversities sake, or at least the benefits of getting different views on things.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I think the term is "Affirmative Action". Encouragement is one thing, a quota system is another. I think the company may be successful in its goal, because if the word gets around, they won't have many male applicants.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

10
The company is doomed.

They will need a huge HR department, just to deal with the sniping and backbiting and conflict that will emerge from the estrogen cloud; as a result they will be continuously hiring, and will need to hire at least 80 pct female to keep the resident population at 50 pct.

They will be in even more useless meeetings than is now the case, and they will accomplish nothing useful in any business or economic sense.





Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

7
"Estrogen cloud" hmm.

I've seen sniping and backstabbing in male dominated environments too, plenty of pointless meetings while they're at it.

Not sure I entirely buy into your gender based preconceptions Mike.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Not sure I agree with quotas per se but it wouldn't surprise me to have 50% or higher females in senior positions - in my experience women in engineering seem to work harder than men and have more of a focus on their career path than most men I know.

I do see a trend in larger companies to engage a more diverse team for problem solving and product development (i.e. teams made up of people not like you) which is fine if you have enough employees to put 'one of each' on every project. The trouble I see is that each team member is being told their idea is the special one that breaks the mould and will revolutionize the industry so when you have to tell them that different does not necessarily equal better it comes across as not supporting diversity

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

In most parts of the world, women rather than men will take time out for parenting and either not work or work reduced time for a few years. So for the same time with the company, men are likely to have more working experience than women with children.
Also, if you work part time the chance that you get 'interesting' projects is far smaller, so your visibility to the bosses is worse.
Just two issues a quota for management positions is trying (in a heavyhanded way!) to adress.
Some also believe that the whole maturity, emotional intelligence abnd organizational skills you learn when dealing with small children is useful in management - so time out taken for family is not a total loss in terms of useful learning. I'm not sure about this, btw.

Maybe the quota for entry level positions is to ensure that a few years down the line, the pool of women from which to promote is large enough?

All of this assuming that the company in question recruits it's management from it's engineers, not from MBA schools or somesuch.

Lastly, my guess is that quotas seldom lead to unqualified people beeing hired (because those would be a PITA for the hiring manager!), rather that positions remain vacant longer until a fitting candidate comes along.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

"Affirmative Action" "Reverse Discrimination" ... policies meant to reverse previous perceived discrimination. Well meaning, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I contend that women are different to men, almost as much as men are different to other men. (i can hear the flame-throwers clicking ...) As individuals we are all different to one another ... hence the definition of "individual". We all have abilities and aptitudes, and disabilities. As a stereotype women didn't favour STEM subjects, in much the same way as children are not adults (and so IMHO we do children a great disservice in trying to treat them as adults).

But I think we can accept that in the past we have discouraged women from going into STEM courses at uni, and this is clearly the problem. To say "girls shouldn't be interested in STEM" is clearly wrong (enforcing a stereotype onto individuals). To encourage women into STEM is a reasonable way to reverse the previous discrimination (ie maybe give them special grants), so if their aptitude leans that way help them (there'll still be plenty of obstacles to overcome).

When we're hiring we should be looking at the individuals behaviours and abilities. The problem is getting women to the other side of the hiring desk (ie to apply for jobs). To mandate 50% hires must be women is (IMHO) short-sighted and a knee-jerk reaction to the problem, and a pretty blatant attempt to steal some head-lines. It will mean that the company is forced to hire less than the best applicants, it will engender acrimony with other employees ("you only got the job because you're a woman"), it will presumably force the company to promote less suitable candidates (so that the less suitable hires don't linger at the entry level), and it may force the company to hire contractors/outsource (since they can't hire enough permanent staff) ... and maybe this is the point !?

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

There maybe a point here, in that there are studies that women are paid less then men for the same work. So maybe this is a cost saving measure. Yes I know this sounds just plain stupid.

Actually in the US I have heard that more women are attending universities than men so this maybe a way to get ahead of a trend. Or just a plain old government idea.

In my area, the 50% ratio would be difficult, as it is much harder to find women who want to do the fieldwork that we require. We have a difficult enough time keeping qualified men because the industry is very tight.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I remember when we had quotas to help the disadvantaged. All of a sudden, there was too much work for the disadvantaged. And so the disadvantaged people had to hire the old advantaged people to do their work.
This happened to me. I was the silent structural engineer on a lot of projects.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I guess I can't speak to the plight of Australian women, but some American women do need help with a few things - for example: the removal of lids from pickle jars.

Most other things, however, they are perfectly capable of. To suggest they are somehow lesser beings in need of special treatment is absurd and offensive. I sometimes think I can see wisps of smoke escaping my wife's ears when she see's women clamoring for special treatment, or anyone suggesting they need it. Election cycles are particularly painful, as she regularly sees herself lumped in with "the woman vote". Yes, half of our population, evenly distributed, is considered a homogeneous "demographic" by our wise political experts. It is sickening.

The irony of it all is that it's the same people who go on and on about "equality" who routinely categorize people, labeling them based on gender, race, religion, etc.

On self-reflection, I suppose it is easy for me as a white male to sit back and claim everything is fine the way it is. Perhaps my life has been made easy by the circumstances of my birth. If there is a lack of vision, I apologize. But for the life of me, I cannot see how this quota policy, or any other like it, is good for anyone - especially those who it demeans in the name of helping them.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

2
"especially those who it demeans in the name of helping them"

If it does that. Is the "best" person really that much more deserving than someone who's almost as good? That presumes that the interviewing process is perfectly quantitative, objective, and accurate, but is it really? Has anyone one in your company actually analyzed whether your interviewing process results in the best end performance? I find that in most cases, successful interviewees simply fit the culture better or are better at glad handing. Because, at the end of the day, we almost never give interviewees an entrace exam, do we? So we barely even know whether the interviewee is truly qualified and competent to the level we need, assuming we even know what that is. I once interviewed someone who got a 4.0 GPA in college, but couldn't engineer their way out of a problem that was both described to them and solved for them 3 times in the same interview. Nevertheless, his GPA would have been the qualification threshold they exceeded, had we not tested them. So, while quotas may, or may not, be a good thing, there's nothing that says you necessarily have to lower your standards; the question is whether your standards are gross overkill or even meaningful.

Certainly, if some of the things said in this thread are actually what the posters believe, then we are lightyears away from a truly egalitarian society. Certainly, nothing has changed in the toy aisles of Walmart; there's still a "pink" aisle that almost all boys know is for girls, and few girls are seen wandering down the action figure aisles.

But, girls, to this date, do better in math and science until about high school, and a still unanswered question is why is there a mass migration away from STEM at that point. Is it really gender, hormones, or peer/cultural pressures?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

11
This whole thread is stupid.

Sincerely, a woman who has worked her bahooty off to get even a modicum of respect from old fart white men engineers, and who honestly is SICK of people telling her that there's really no problem, honey, so just sit down and be quiet.

Sorry, but YET ANOTHER study just came out about women in engineering being paid less, treated like crap, not getting promotions, etc, and yet we have threads like this.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

2
SLTA, I think we all agree that it is stupid to have a 50% hiring quota, which is what this thread is about.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

2
I can see that there are reverse discrimination issues, however there are many years of legal precedent of the validity of affirmative action programs being necessary to correct injustice and inequalities of many kinds. I survived the quota system. Sharpen up and maybe you will too. And perhaps some day you'll all learn that diversity promotes adaptability and strength.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Nothing wrong with 50/50 provided skills etc are factored into the equation.
Having said that, elmployment should be qualification based certainly not gender based.

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia.)

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The wrong thing about quota, ANY QUOTA, is that trying to replace merit with statistical representation creates slippery slope.

Today too few women, tomorrow too many Jews, what's next?

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote (Cranky108)

...in that there are studies that women are paid less then men for the same work

This is a false narrative. One always hears women are paid 78% less....and the listener/reader interprets the "...for the same work."

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-...

I ran into this quota at a previous company. There were several of us (men) that were at the level where our next step up was supervisory/managerial. They came right out and said to the whole group that they were looking for a woman to fill the position, and filled it with someone two grade levels below us. The company lost several good engineers for this, so I guess their women/men ratio increased and management got their bonus for meeting their goal.

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

and how did that make you feel ?

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

20 years ago, we were looking for someone with 20yrs+ experience in a certain field.

We had to justify this greatly to HR because if we limited it to 20+yrs experience, we were discriminating against minorities because they weren't in sufficient numbers in schools (in this field) 40 years ago, to have the 20+yrs experience.

An additional problem with quota's is the connotation that the person(s) brought in to meet the quota are not thought highly of by the other workers.

I've had a relative and a friend let go from gov't jobs, given the reason the position was obsolete, only for them to find the position was filled by someone else (and in one case, multiple people) to meet a quota.

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

3
Regardless of one's opinion on quotas, the discussion needs to start with acknowledgment of women's disadvantaged position in all parts of the engineering career pipeline: education, job market, career, etc. It's a very real problem. It's impossible to not see.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

and so we should enable, encourage women inclined towards STEM to pursue it ... scholarships, grants, etc

The more minorities we feed into the universities, the more graduates we'll get, the more job applicants ...

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Look there are inequalities in life and that is a fact. I try to treat people as I would like to be treated at home and at work, despite being labeled or perceived as an old fart white man engineer, as mentioned above. As for things out of my direct control, I don't dwell on it.

I don't agree with hiring quotas. You hire the best qualified individual. Period.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

4
Without the successful examples and pull from an actual job market that is obviously in need of, and wants, minorities, what possible motivation is there for a minority middle-schooler to decide on a STEM education? Without someone who has been successful to come back and encourage those middle-schoolers that there is a well-paid job and a viable end to their STEM-directed studies, how are they going to continue on, particularly given the obvious racism and sexism that exists. This also ignores the fact that many schools simply do a crappy job of preparing their graduates for the work force. Even at the high school level, there are schools that boast that 60% of their AP students pass their exams, which is not a particularly sound result, given that they're selective in their admissions, and few, truly poor students attend those schools.

I had thought, while growing up, that the US was well on its way to an egalitarian future, but that future seems even farther out of reach than before. Humans are surprisingly stubborn in maintaining discriminatory views and actions; it's been over 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, and it's been clear from the last 8 years that there are still people that still think of blacks as little more than uppity slaves.

Frankly, the quota is irrelevant, if standards are maintained, then positions will go unfilled, and the situation will correct itself, either by modification of the quota, or paying a premium for those that fulfill the quota. I see the quota as more of realization from the company has recognized that, left to their own devices, their employees are simply unwilling or unable to seek out the minorities covered by the quota. "It's so hard to find..." is a just a childish answer which would never be the response to "Go design this impossibly difficult widget, or structure."

I think that if engineers were to treat this problem as an engineering problem, and apply all this brainpower into finding a solution instead of complaining about it, things might actually get changed.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

There seems to be a lot of reaction here.
Is there prejudice against women in higher positions? I think that there is.
Should there be less prejudice against women? I think that less prejudice against women is a good thing.
Will there be a "Cloud of estrogen" and stereotypical silly behaviour. Maybe not.
Stereotypes aside, any person who possesses the intelligence and other character traits required to complete a degree in engineering may exhibit a higher standard of behaviour than persons in the secretarial pool or cleaning the floors, or for that matter, persons on the loading dock or cleaning the floors.
Maybe not, and the exceptions may be well divided between the genders.
When we are young we are taught many prejudices. Prejudice is often taught as attitudes and catch phrases.
One of the insidious things about prejudice towards women is that it is taught to women as well as to men.

"If I was a relatively junior male employee then I might be thinking my chances of advancement may be better elsewhere and plan accordingly - your employer may or may not care."
How about the many female employees who have been passed over for no other reason than their gender.

"Simplistically it would also seem that the most important thing should be who is the best candidate, and any preference over gender, race, sexuality, veteran status, age... even with the intent of 'affirmative action' should perhaps be secondary.
I agree."

But if the present pattern is out of balance, it may need a push to bring it into balance.
Note:
New hires shall be 50% female. Promotions shall give preference to women. This may ensure equality of opportunity. In the very few instances where there is a dead heat for a position, the preference will be given to the woman. In all other cases this standard will ensure that no man is given preference based on gender.
But back to the original subject.
Quotas have been established at an establishment.
This is a very small point in history.
History is very long, longer than a piece of string!
When something is seriously unbalanced, as is the representation of women in engineering and higher management levels, an over reaction may be required to restore the balance.
At this point I remember an old supervisor who pleaded with a crew;
"Please do something, even if it is wrong!"
Something is wrong and something has been done, even if it is wrong.
Let's see what happens in a year or two or more in the future.
I hope that as the 50% quota results in the workforce approaching a proportional balance, the quota based restrictions will be somewhat relaxed and there will be more and more exceptions until a fair balance is reached and the quotas fade away.
"Even though it may not be clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should be."

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

When attitudes like this still exist, the quota system may be the only effective way to fix it. If you don't want quotas, change your attitudes. Instead of making pointless statements about if you agree or not, recognize that there is a problem and let's hear some ideas about how to fix it.

metengr, you're up.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

A few questions to those critical of quotas:
What else would be a good way to ensure fair treatment of women after graduation in engineering fields?
How does a fair promotion practice look like?
As a hiring manager, do you activly look for biases in the way you judge candidates? What do you use as 'markers' for soft skills, cultural fit and character in a candidate?
Are equal wages for equal work paid at your specific company, how do you know?
And so.

I think to say "just look at qualification" is a cop out, as qualification is a bundle of a dozen or more skills with little overlap for any typical work and you can't test for all of them.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Now and then I see articles/editorials about NASA's Katherine Johnson and Margaret Hamilton. They discuss the impressive accomplishments each of them made despite the steep uphill climb not required of their male counterparts. Invariably, I see people questioning why we're hearing about these women at all, if it's not just "because they're women" as if that discredits their meritorious career achievements.

Then we have threads like this and I can't help but wonder if the two sentiments are related.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

control novice I skimmed through that http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-... it was interesting reading and delved into a lot of the nuances behind 'women only getting .78 for every $1 a man gets' sound bites. Taking it a face value a very interesting read.

Quote (GOLDIN http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-... )

"So, the ones <high paying occupations> that have the smallest difference between male and female earnings with these corrections are the technology occupations and the science occupations and..."

However it was focused on pay not proportion of women in field though that did get touched on.

I still question the assumption (not just here but generally) that any occupation should be expected to be evenly split between men & women and failure to hit that is evidence of discrimination.

However, gross disparities are certainly worth a look and some of the incidents SLTA and others have previously brought up aren't acceptable and should be addressed.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Not necessarily related. Generally, whether it be a woman crossing the Pacific, or a man reaching the summit of Mt Everest, or a double amputee, male or female, running in the Olympics, it is not necessarily the gender that is of interest, although that may mulitply the degree of adversity present in some cases, it is the drama of the steep uphill climb that we all paid to see. But in the end, I guess it really depends on how much of a factor the viewer thought gender had to do with the degree of adversity overcome in the story. This thread would suggest that sometimes it matters quite a lot and it also matters more to some than to others.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I can't wait until we're all replaced by robots and this issue goes away.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Estrogen cloud.

Really.

Why not call it what it really is, an inability or lack of desire from managers to manage. Estrogen cloud, good ole boy, whatever, it is just all uncurbed bad behavior.

A Manager can make almost anything work. A process overseer only sees parts that don't fit together by themselves.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Sorry, she reads like a shill for "don't worry, be happy; discrimination is a thing of the past" crowd. I don't know where she's looking for evidence, "we don’t have tons of evidence that it’s true discrimination;" she's either not looking particularly hard or her Google-fu is pathetically weak. I think it's a confirmation bias; she made it, so there must not be a problem.

Social scientists routinely report experiments that show men get hired before women, whites before blacks or Hispanics, or even tall, handsome men before short, ugly men. No one, other than the knucklehead that lost his fast food franchise is actually going to admit bias to any survey or questionnaire; they all know what the required responses are, which is also why it's so hard to find pedophiles. We, as a society, have turned these social misfits into chameleons, to the point that some of them might actually believe that they're on the right side of this. The bias are so well hidden that it takes using identical resumes with only the names changed to reveal those bias. Blacks have actually made it easy for discrimination to occur by using names favored by blacks; there's even a website to help them with that: http://www.top-100-baby-names-search.com/black-bab... Take a look at the top 20 names; not a single one would connote a white male.

The obvious experiment is to hide the name of the applicant on their resumes and see if that changes the interview ratios. Obviously, once face-to-face, their gender or race will be obvious, but they'll have at least made it through the door.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

http://www.se3project.org/full-report.html

The pay difference is real. For me, for my (PhD in nuclear physics) mother, for the women in the other engineering survey results we've previously discussed.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The article was discussing the the difference in pay between men & women and it didn't' claim there was no difference.

It did suggest that once various factors are corrected for that in terms of "man & women doing same job at the same level" the pay difference is a lot smaller than headline sound bites often imply.

It then discussed potential factors impacting that remaining difference.

It also touched on the idea of blind auditions for musicians and their impact which is similar to your no name resume idea IRSTUFF.

Also gives a link to the Harvard Economists bio: http://scholar.harvard.edu/goldin/home

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Here's a theory, "People like to associate with people they see are like their self". For what it's worth, that could be seen as a bad thing, or the making of a well working group.

If you come to a job interview trying to be different, you should be declined in my thinking. If you instead show you can add value to the new company, you should be asked for a second interview.

This just looks too much like social engineering, or trying to force a company to change for some greater good. It's going to be much harder than a natural change.

The question should be, do people want to be hired to meet a quota, or hired because they add value to the company?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

SLTA,

Did your Mom take off time from work when she had you? Did she take time off when you needed care? The point of the posted article is that in some businesses, hours worked, and availability to travel/be away from kids for long periods explained quite a lot of the pay gaps seen.

In our state, it recently became required for businesses to allow family leave, e.g. for expectant mothers and fathers. It was also clear at some companies that I worked, that using such leave pretty much put you on the "mommy/daddy track", and you could expect lower pay raises, male or female, the same way that using all your sick leave, or consistently refusing to work unpaid overtime, etc. would do.

FWIW, my wife graduated a year ahead of me, from the same institution, with the same degree. We ended up working in the same companies for the next 7 or 8 years. Up until her last year of employment (when she was pregnant) she made more money than I did, by about one pay raise cycle. Anecdotal, I know, but it was similar to other DINK couples' experience that we knew. Ok, all of this for aerospace companies where EEO laws and quotas (official or unofficial) were the norm. My wife would object to hiring quotas, as we knew more than a few people who were elevated by such measures to positions where they were way over their heads. I would argue with her that the Peter principle pretty much ensures the same thing regardless of any gender/race/religious/etc. bias.

I like Bill's statement:
At this point I remember an old supervisor who pleaded with a crew;
"Please do something, even if it is wrong!"
Something is wrong and something has been done, even if it is wrong.
Let's see what happens in a year or two or more in the future.


But, also remember that we've had quotas here in the US, with some varying degree of success or failure. And the adage "the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same thing, expecting a different result" seems to apply.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

@ BigInch:

Quote (BigInch)

metengr, you're up.

Solution; You hire qualified INDIVIDUALS. Second, you correct the pay grade differences for a job classification to ensure equality. Third, by ensuring pay equality you lead the pack and attract talent.

Since I have been classified as a technical individual contributor for my entire career what I say does not mean sh*t to upper management folks. I sleep well at night.


RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Makes sense.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote (btrueblood)

In our state, it recently became required for businesses to allow family leave, e.g. for expectant mothers and fathers. It was also clear at some companies that I worked, that using such leave pretty much put you on the "mommy/daddy track", and you could expect lower pay raises, male or female, the same way that using all your sick leave, or consistently refusing to work unpaid overtime, etc. would do.

Those uppity ingrates. Refusing to labor after-hours for FREE. The gall! "mommy/daddy track" my ass. Avoiding exploitation is not a drawback. You're just promoting a culture that preys on the weaker willed.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The hypothetical manager enacting such policies - apologies for the ambiguity. I was admittedly less than specific.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I think the "unpaid overtime" was perhaps referring to a salaried employee vs. an hourly employee.
There is a huge difference there and if you are salaried and expect to be paid for necessary overtime you probably aren't on much of a promotable track to begin with.

Salaried individuals are paid X amount of money to get job Y done - no matter what it takes time-wise. That is the definition of "salaried".
Hourly employees are paid for their pure labor vs. time and if overtime is required they are due the overtime pay.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

That isn't really true about salaried workers. Outside consultants get paid to get a job done. No one monitors their coming or going or their hours. Not true for salaried workers.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Most salaried employees actually given a defined nominal number of hours they are meant to work. Being a bit flexible on this is generally accepted.

However, X amount of money to get Y job done is pushing it.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

2
Hurricanes, if you are a male employee then get out NOW while you still can. Mike Halloran is right - your company is doomed. The longer you stay, the more you will come to realize this.

Affirmative action, as it is currently practiced here in the United States, is essentially politically sanctioned discrimination. It is based on the premise that you can adjust for the problems of past discrimination practices by actively discriminating against everyone else who doesn't belong to the identified minority and/or gender groups of interest. Based on your opening post, you have not been impacted by this before. You soon will be. My initial experience with this type of discrimination occurred when I applied for my very first job as I was graduating from college. That served as my introduction to the working world.

Maui

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

On the salary / overtime issue - what I said above I still stand by.

Historically, a salaried individual was indeed paid X to get Y job done. That is not pushing it at all. That was probably the status in the US from the 1800's to today - at least through the 1990's.
Possibly back to the B.C. era.

It may be that some companies differ in that they might pay salaried individuals for some overtime but that wasn't the case generally.

Here's some quotes/definitions/history:
A salary is a form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract. It is contrasted with piece wages, where each job, hour or other unit is paid separately, rather than on a periodic basis. From the point of view of running a business, salary can also be viewed as the cost of acquiring and retaining human resources for running operations, and is then termed personnel expense or salary expense. In accounting, salaries are recorded in payroll accounts.

Salary is a fixed amount of money or compensation paid to an employee by an employer in return for work performed. Salary is commonly paid in fixed intervals, for example, monthly payments of one-twelfth of the annual salary.

In the United States, the distinction between periodic salaries (which are normally paid regardless of hours worked) and hourly wages (meeting a minimum wage test and providing for overtime) was first codified by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. At that time, five categories were identified as being "exempt" from minimum wage and overtime protections, and therefore salariable. In 1991, some computer workers were added as a sixth category but effective August 23, 2004 the categories were revised and reduced back down to five (executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales employees).

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

2
I feel I need to clarify my last post a bit. I was being facetious and I see now that it was not a time to be facetious.

My intent was to support women by pointing out how silly it is to suggest they need quota policies to get a job. I believe it is insulting to women. I realize this is anecdotal, but everyone else is doing it so here goes. My wife feels the same way. She is a medical physicist. For those unfamiliar, that means she runs quality control for radiation oncology equipment such as linear accelerators and imaging equipment such as MRI and CT scanners. She holds a BS in physics and a MS in radiation physics. She is compensated equally to men in her field with similar experience and credentials. To her knowledge, she has never been granted preferential treatment because of her gender, and she would feel ashamed if she had.

Another clarification: I don't literally "sit back and claim everything is fine the way it is." I acknowledge a problem, but the problem is with individuals and culture. These problems cannot be solved overnight by laws or policies. Some individuals may never change, but they will eventually retire. Culture can and most certainly is changing for the better when it comes to gender equality. Just take a look from one generation to the next. The increased prevalence and acceptance of women as professionals is obvious. Another anecdote for this one. A friend of mine is a lawyer in D.C. at a major law firm. She is in her late twenties, just passed the BAR last year. She feels well accepted and respected by her peers. She has already been moved to a more upward mobile position in the firm. She would not call it a promotion, more of a horizontal shift. But clearly it is a sign they see bright things in her future. Once again, there are no policies helping her along, at least not official ones. A professional woman who is now in her forties or fifties would have faced a much different environment when she was starting out. I know that. My mother lived that.

I do believe that affirmative action is demeaning to those it seeks to help. I was not being facetious about that. It suggests inferiority, which is a horrible thing to put on a person. I know that is not the intent, but the suggestion is there none the less. To be "helped" into a job by a quota would be embarrassing, and an honest person would never live it down in their own mind. Those who would knowingly and openly accept preference based on gender or race are entitled. Entitlement begets resentment. Resentment is counterproductive to the the cultural change in progress. I think these policies actually hinder or even reverse the progress we've made as a culture. Discrimination should be universally prohibited and condemned. Period.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

IMO, the fact that someone thinks a quota is neccessary does not reflect their opinion on woman as fragile and in need of protection, but their (the quota setters) belief that hiring managers are not willing or able do overcome their biases without some prodding.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of quotas either but I see the problem they try to solve. I'm a fan of models that allow more control over the working time (parental leave, part time work, flexitime, overtime is paid or taken off) because that helps a lot with child rearing and managing a household or having a life. But the career one makes in such a model is different.
This helps people who want a life besides work and can't push all the stress to their domestic partners. Surely only a subset of women in the field, OTOH also a subset of men.



RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote (SLTA)

a woman who has worked her bahooty off to get even a modicum of respect from old fart white men engineers

Same could be said of a man who has worked his bahooty off to get even a modicum of respect from old fart white men engineers....

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

#NotAllMen

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I don't know what to say about quotas but the in my opinion the greatest and most valid integrator is high goals and difficult obstacles. Women came in and played a big role during the war effort in WW2. Truman racially integrated the military during the Korean War. Clinton outlawed banning of people in the military by their sexual orientation with "don't ask don't tell" in 1993 and full inclusion happened in 2011 unber Obama. To me at least, the quickest and most validating form of inclusion is to raise the bar or tackle really hard problems that need to be overcome. Pressure creates changes.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Maybe this is insightful. If you want the respect from this old white engineer, you have to earn it. I don't care about your <fill in the blank> that's your anchor and you should get over it.

Things are changing and some what for the better, as having people who are different bring a different perspective. And just maybe that is why there is the need for quotas.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote:

(controlnovice)
Same could be said of a man who has worked his bahooty off to get even a modicum of respect from old fart white men engineers....

Quite true. I'm white (and male).....and when I came into this business, the old guard [white & male] wouldn't give me the time of day. (It took years.)

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Back during a period when I was managing a group of engineers and technical employees our company had a program to increase the diversity of the professional staff, and with respect to this, they activity recruited what they felt were above average minority candidates (this included gender considerations) from highly rated universities. I had one of these so-called 'fast-track' employees in my group.

Now I played no role in hiring her as she had already been with the company for several years when I took over the group in which she was part of. Now she was an outstanding, dedicated and hard driving employee and once you got to know her you learned that despite what other people might say about her (mostly males) she was NOT a 'libber' using her sex to get ahead, she was actually very qualified for the job that she was doing. Now even though my company, which I will not name but was a large American corporation known for producing very complex and high-value products, I was never pressured into treating her any different than anyone else in my group, which BTW did include other female employees, just not ones who had been hired under this program, except in one way. I had to do 'annual' reviews for all of my people at least once a year and to make this as easy as possible we used the employee's birthday for the timing of these reviews. Now don't confuse this with the annual task of determining pay raises or bonuses as this was always done at the end of the fiscal year for all employees, no this was just to review their contribution to the organization and fitness for the tasks for which they were responsible for. And while the results of these reviews obviously played a role in determining compensation and future promotions, they were not directly linked. Anyway, in the case of this one female employee, I had to do her 'annual' review every six months. This was it as far as my role in her career with us and I had no problem with it since I understood why it was being done and that it was an appropriate process which did not really discriminate against other employees yet still accomplished what the company was trying to do, identify and encourage individuals in a way to improve diversity at all levels of the company.

Unfortunately it did not end well. A couple of years later I was offered a side-ways move to a senior staff position to the VP of development (by this point I had realized that while I liked my position and my people seemed to like me, management was NOT my strong suit and I really wanted to get back into a more hands-on technical role and the opportunity that opened-up for me was exactly what I was looking for) and this female employee, who had been acting, when needed, as my 'second-in-command' anyway, was offered my position when I left, which she accepted. Now this job was managing a technical support staff to the sales organization of our company and was therefore a 'field' location. That is, we were not part of 'corporate'. Less than six months after taking-over my job she GOT her big opportunity to move into a job that she really wanted, being part of a large procurement program focusing on a customer where her background would be a big asset (her degree was in aerospace engineering and this new program was to try and secure a large contract with NAVAIR, the Navy's aerospace command) and it was at 'corporate' where her role would be much more noticed so I'm sure that helped with both her decision and the people who wanted her on this project. In the end, she wishes she had stayed put, not because she failed to do the job or that we lost the contract but rather the corporate environment was not a good one for her. Now she was a young, good looking single women and when she started to deal with hard-core corporate types she was confronted, really for the first time in her career, with both sexism AND sexual 'abuse' in the workplace. She was devastated and quit the company a couple of years later.

Now we've kept in touch over the years and she has told me on more than one occasion that she wishes she had never left that job that she had taken-over from me, both because of what happened to her and the fact that that 'field' office became one of the largest in the company so she could have had all the chances of advancement by staying put, but you don't know those things at the time.

Anyway, I thought this story would be of interest to at least some of you here.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The grass on the other side of the fence is not always as green as it can sometimes appear, but still nobody can, or should, try to tell you that at the time. It usually doesn't do any good anyway. When those rare challenges come along, you've just to go try it for yourself. Surely as I'm sitting here right now writing this, if she never went down that path, she would be writing about how much she regretted not taking that route. I am not sure what this has to do with quotas in Australia either. We should probably stop now.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The thing that always worries me is institutional discrimination.

Individuals are always going to say dumb things and make disparaging remarks.

Once the stated policy of an organization becomes we are only going to hire a minority female with a disability or fill in the blank- how does that differ from the days of "whites only" signs?

The most egregious form of racism is when it is made into policy whether at a governmental or corporate level. Even when targeting whitey.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Hiring strategies would only rightfully be even-handed and without bias if the hiring being done would perform even-handedly and without bias.

History shows us this isn't the case.

Hence modified hiring strategies.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Exxon pays women engineers more than men to get their pick while diversifying their workforce.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

JNieman: sounds great, but the devil's in the details. You don't fix an injustice with another injustice. Discrimination on bases which have no effect on performance, of which sex is only one, is wrong, whether it's done to correct a perceived systematic injustice or not. If you were to remove bias in hiring completely, it would take many years to correct the imbalance, and then after that long period of time you would achieve only the balance between the dominant and minority groups only equal to that in the candidate pool, not society at large. Want it sooner? Sorry, the only way to make that happen is either a) another systematic injustice, or b) making existing employment contestable, i.e. everybody has to re-apply for their job every few years. Maybe we should have a workplace which works on principle b)- in theory it would help trim a lot of deadwood- but in reality it would probably result in a more rapid reinforcement of whatever is wrong in the organization, with the good staff heading for higher ground where they don't have to fear for their positions.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

If you can't meet the employment quotas, just hire consultants who don't have those restraints.
The HR types will never know there plan has failed.

On the other hand, if you keep changing things every few years, it does tend to shake out the dead wood.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The year I finished engineering school (1971) there was a soft employment market for entry level positions and many of my classmates decides to opt for graduate school while waiting for things to improve. I was lucky (and I needed it since I was married with two new babies and school loans to pay) in that I had a firm offer from a company where I had worked summers.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make was that during our last term, one of our professors, who had extensive industrial experience, after hearing one of his students lamenting about the poor job market, pointed out that is was healthy for sectors like engineering and manufacturing to go though periodic soft-times as it gives management the opportunity to clean-out the 'deadwood' that accumulated in any organization when times were good and people were hired and retained without a serious consideration to their contribution. He reminded people, that unless a company actually went out of business, that the best people would not be let go and those who stayed would reap the benefits when business picked-up again and they started to fill-out the staff that the people that had stuck with them would be getting the promotions. And I have to say that in my 49 year professional career this was proven true several times over. In fact, when I was being promoted to my first management position and I was attending training classes back at corporate, we were told how we should take advantage of the times when we might have to let people go to use it to protect the more productive and experienced workers and to think of these cycles as normal and actually a healthy situation.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Slow times are definitely a great way to prune the deadwood without feeling so bad about it. Personally if the deadwood is truly deadwood, and management aren't asleep and are doing their jobs properly, pruning during good times had better not be a problem either- one bad employee can sap the productivity of at least ten of their peers! But making all positions contestible on a periodic basis is an entirely different proposition, especially if one of the criteria for retention is some kind of sex, race etc. quota system. If you want some magic level of measured "inclusiveness" and aren't willing to wait a couple generations to achieve it, you have to generate redundancy artificially in order to get there- merely waiting for a new and improved, somehow bias-free (i.e. not done by humans I guess) selection process to fix the issue will require you to wait at least a couple generations.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I think the pruning argument is pretty poor.

The problem is that when the axe gets wielded it isn't just poor performers who leave, you'll also see the ornery ones getting zapped, and anyone with a clue who has just been contemplating a different job will get out as well. My guess is you end up with a more compliant, but more average, workforce.

Surely the answer in all these cases is to improve your hiring practices, and think about retention (and anti-retention) policies, not wait for economic conditions to force your hand.

... and as for Forced Ranking, hah! I know of one engineering company silly enough to carry on using it, I wonder how many do. http://fortune.com/2013/11/18/microsoft-ge-and-the...

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I think one of managers called it "rack and stack," and his implementation was almost guaranteed to cause the older, more experienced, workers to leave, which was of the form, "What have you done for me lately?"

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote (GregLocock)



...and anyone with a clue who has just been contemplating a different job will get out as well.

I have to admit that you are correct on that score and I know that personally.

Back in 1980, after having worked 14 years for my first company, I decided to look for something better and while during the time that I was out looking around and going for interviews, there were no cut-backs taking place. I found an opportunity that I really liked and was contemplating the offer that had been made to me when I came into work and suddenly, it was 'Black Friday'. There was a lay-off under way that affected most all the departments and while I was NOT on the 'hit list', this caused me to make-up my mind right there and then. So when I got called into my bosses office where he started to explain how I was key to their plans and how my contribution was valued but after about five minutes of this, I interrupted him and told him that I had another job offer and that I had decided to take it. Well this left him totally flabbergasted and he immediately ran out to talk to his boss about what had just happened, leaving me sitting alone in his office. Later I was called into see the president of the company where they tried to explain once again how I was going to play a key role in the "big changes that were coming". And when I was asked why I decided to give my notice that day, I said that once I realized what was happening it forced my decision and that perhaps I could save someone's job.

And before you ask, I stuck to my guns, left Michigan, moved to SoCal and retired from that new 'job' a year-ago January.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
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The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Well I can't top that, but I did 'survive' three rounds of headcount reductions in 2 years of 15% per round. I had actually applied for the voluntary phase of each round (the terms were pretty good), and the last time I was told "we really mean it, you apply, you go". So I applied,yet again, and they offered me a job far more suited to my preferences instead. So I stayed. Four years later I actually got the job I wanted, and have been there ever since - sixteen years and counting.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I think I have seen figures where for everyone person made redundant, a company can expect 3 more to leave over the next 12 months, typically these are better staff.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Could we finish this discussion with the words of known woman activist, feminist Gloria Steinem: “There are really not many jobs that actually require a penis or a vagina, and all other occupations should be open to everyone.”

I guess it's going both ways, isn't it?

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote (verymadmac)

I think I have seen figures where for everyone person made redundant, a company can expect 3 more to leave over the next 12 months, typically these are better staff.

Yes - The ones that companies keep are generally the better staff, not the 'dead weight'...then they get all the extra load from those that were let go, get fed up, and leave.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

This is a pretty solid book, Women in Engineering: Gender, Power, Workplace Culture. I bought it on a whim due to it being cheap, $2.75 shipped. It includes analysis and a number of interviews of women that worked as engineers in the 70's and 80's. The women in the book come from two types of companies - bureaucratic vs high tech . Several women in the book stated that they choose to stay bored to death in their bureaucratic jobs due to its promotional policies and not having to deal with a dude work environment. It's a good book that doesn't feel too academic.

This thread being about quotas, if you are trying to less dude up a work environment I don't know how you do that without hiring more women. When was the last time you heard someone shut down someone that was on a sexist rant when there were no women present?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Having women in the work place does tend to shut down the sports talk, which is great as I don't care much for sports.

It also cuts down on the usage of four letter words.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

"When was the last time you heard someone shut down someone that was on a sexist rant when there were no women present?"

A year and a half or so ago when one of the junior engineers was saying he wouldn't let his daughter ever become a mechanic or something like that. In fairness wasn't entirely clear if it was sexist or some other bias against that kind of work, either way most of us guys there jumped on him for it.

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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

2


Quote (BigInch (Petroleum) 19 Jan 17 15:50)

BigInch (Petroleum) 19 Jan 17 15:50 When attitudes like this still exist, the quota system may be the only effective way to fix it. If you don't want quotas, change your attitudes. Instead of making pointless statements about if you agree or not, recognize that there is a problem and let's hear some ideas about how to fix it.

1- Fix what?

2- What attitudes?

3- What exactly is the problem?

4- I know exactly how to fix it. Hire the most qualified applicants based purely on a candidate's merit as it relates to the job position. Do not make policies that turn a position-filling process into a sex/race/religion/politically based process.

A person's gender has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to fill a role unless they work in the adult entertainment industry. Hiring policies based on demographic are inherently discriminatory regardless of how well intentioned the policymaker claims to be. Are hospitals crying out for more male nurses? Are people trying to contradict career patterns of people in attempts to artificially increase the demand for male nurses?

Why is it that when a career is dominated by males, the narrative is that women not only NEED to get into it, there is also the assumption that they need external help in order to break into it.. But when a field is dominated by women, the popular narrative does not indicate that it is a high aspiration for men.

Why do you people think that female engineers need assistance to get into the field? Look at this damn thread, for example. The prevailing narrative is that women in engineering is totally acceptable. Vast majority of people have absolutely no objection to females being in engineering, including myself. There is no conspiracy against hiring women into engineering roles. In fact, I've never came in contact with a female engineer who is disrespected or treated differently than a male engineer in the same role.

This policy takes credit away from female engineers and will brand them as charity-hires. I do not understand how you can believe that women are incapable of getting into the industry unassisted, and simultaneously claim to believe that they are capable. Its a condescending policy, whether intended to be malicious or not.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I can say I like quotas over good-ol'-boy hiring that exists in some places. There is something about groupthink that can go really wrong, and make really good people leave.

And just maybe that is the thinking behind the quotas.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote (cranky108 (Electrical) 23 Feb 17 19:05 )

cranky108 (Electrical) 23 Feb 17 19:05

I can say I like quotas over good-ol'-boy hiring that exists in some places. There is something about groupthink that can go really wrong, and make really good people leave.

And just maybe that is the thinking behind the quotas.

Are you suggesting that group-think is gender-specific? That idea would align with the definition of sexism quite well.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Having a mix of sexes is a great way to fix all sorts of problems which happen when you segregate them. Exaggerated stereotypical behavior happens in both sexes when there are too few of the other sex around.

Mandating a balance of the sexes is quite another matter entirely.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

"4- I know exactly how to fix it. Hire the most qualified applicants based purely on a candidate's merit as it relates to the job position. Do not make policies that turn a position-filling process into a sex/race/religion/politically based process. "

Your "fix" fails to address the discrimination that goes all way back to grade school, so the "most qualified" tend to be male, and white, because of the inherent biases in the entire chain from grade school to job that preselect white males to be "most qualified." Time and again, it's been shown that teachers favor boys in engineering/STEM, and in some cases, they go out of their way to discourage girls. Continuing this system just further solidifies the discrimination that's built into our society. To think otherwise is to perpetuate an unfair system. The fact that there are so few women being hired simply reinforces the worldview that women have no place in engineering and minimizes the visible role models that girls and women can rely on.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

3
How often in this thread did someone type "Just hire the best!", only for someone to reply why it's not that easy, only for someone else to type "Hire the most qualified!"
Do try to follow.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Panther140, I completely agree that men should be encouraged to go into nursing and other female dominated professions. I find it distressing that there are no men in daycares, what message does this send to children? That only women are caring individuals? Although I believe that the issue of men entering nursing is actually coming more to the forefront, certainly I've heard several radio stories addressing the issue, and there is research money being put toward studying the problem (http://www.asrn.org/journal-nursing/374-men-in-nur...)

Everyone has bias, and one way or another we need to work through them and get rid of them. The classical music industry was able to do that by having auditioning musicians play from behind a screen, they had to go so far as to make the musicians take off their shoes (because women tended to wear heels, which was a give away). After those great lengths they ended up with pretty much a 50/50 mix of men and women, before that it was skewed towards men.

I do not think that quotas is a perfect answer, but it seems to at least help the situation. Until we as a society have fully obliterated biases we need to force ourselves in some way to confront them and we need crutches (quotas or some other mechanism) to help break past the barrier, whether it's men or women who are up against that barrier.

But in order to fix a problem you have to first admit there is a problem. I challenge you to seek out your own biases, recognize them and then think about them for a few moments. It takes a little practice but after a while you get better at it. Think of it as a self science experiment.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Not to be a huge proponent quotas but there is a lot of places where you could have a 50/50 hiring practice and it may take decades to reach a 50/50 ratio or maybe a decade to reach 20/80, the ratio in universities. I doubt a 50/50 policy is meant to be a long term thing but maybe more so a policy to quickly bring things back in line. When Exxon pays female engineers more than male. I am guessing they see value in diversifying the workforce and are willing to spend more money to more quickly change their demographics with quality candidates.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Panther, my comment on group-think was in reference to a company that hires mostly people from one university. Your comment about sounding sexist is offencive in that aspect.

So don't be so PC until you know the facts. Your bias is showing.

And that's the issue, everyone has a bias and is likely to favor people they believe will make things work.

The other side of it is, in small groups, it is hard to have a good mix of anything. But easy to point out that the group is not fairly mixed.

The people who answer the phones are mostly women, while the people who climb electric poles are mostly men. So what? Is it important to fix, and do we need to fix it?
Why is engineering important to fix? Because it pays well?

I don't have a bias (that I can see), but I do see the double standard with other industries.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

IRstuff, I'd say that article borders on not being anecdotal. It sounds like there were multiple examples of hardship for the one using the female name. They basically conducted a small study.

However, I think we've all (mostly) already agreed that sexism exists in the workplace. The question posed in this thread is whether legalized, policy-driven, institutional "reverse" sexism is a right and just way to mitigate cultural and individual sexism.

I hold that such policies are antithetical to the progress made over the last 50+ years of removing discriminatory laws from the books, criminalizing discrimination, and moving the culture in the direction of anti-discrimination. What message does it send if we say: "Discrimination is a good thing, as long as it's against the right people." ??

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

That sort of boils down to whether people are aiming for "equality of opportunity" or "equality of outcome".

I've noticed that certain groups pay a lot of lip service about providing the former, while ignoring or refusing to believe that a lot of systemic biases still exist that prevents the latter from happening. It's all about the means (or at least signalling the means...) and let the outcome be the outcome (which often happens to be more status quo).

Whereas the example given in the original post is very much in the latter camp- are there enough qualified female engineers around to ensure that all new hires are made in at least a 50/50 ratio? The company certainly appears to think so, so they are directly requiring that the outcome be achieved, regardless of how it's done.

There's been study after study that confirms it's incredibly hard to remove all bias from hiring practice- most people aren't even aware it's there. Yet as we see from the article above, put a female name on your resume and suddenly life gets a lot harder, despite most people being involved at least claiming not to be biased. So how do you expect to know that you've ever achieved equality of opportunity?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

For what it's worth, here's an item of interest to the conversation, and there's even an Australian reference:

High-Paying Job Listings Are Written To Attract Men, Study Finds

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/job-listings-s...;

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Huffington Post is not the place to go for honest discussion about diversity:

HuffPo Editors' Diversity


______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Oh, right. We should only listen to the all-white all-male editorial boards of most other news sources. Whoopsies.

And, as far as gender diversity - take a guess what the percent of female membership is here on Eng-Tips. Just guess.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

So how would you know a posters gender if it were not reported, or stated anywhere?

I agree HuffPo is likely biased, just like the all-white-all-male editorial boards you talk about. So what do you suggest?
If you don't have a reasonable unbiased suggestion, then we just have to live with this divide in news reporting.

The problem we face here is some of the managers don't understand the issue of engineering profession diversity. And I don't do well with water pipe.
But more to the point the difference in pay scale between Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, and Electrical (Power systems, or Electronics). That there is a shortage of Electrical (Power systems) engineers, and an abundance of Mechanical engineers (those that deal with water pipes).

In addition we seem to promote from within, rather than to hire more qualified people from outside (in some areas outside of power systems). And the problem is very few women apply for those starting positions in the first place to move up the ladder, so to speak.

So to me diversity is a bad smelling flower that people seem to make from whatever view they have.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

" And the problem is very few women apply for those starting positions in the first place to move up the ladder, so to speak."

From a point in grade school and middle school when females excel at math and science, the numbers drastically dwindle by the time they're in high school. That's largely cultural, so all the gender-neutrality in laws doesn't do squat to fix that. Seat belts were in the same cultural boat, until it became illegal to not wear them. My kids actually get uncomfortable when not wearing seat belts.

The downside, of course, is that if we did get female representation higher in previously male-dominated bastions like engineering, our salaries are going to take hit as well, as there'll (hopefully) twice as many applicants in the pool.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

As one of the only "out" females on here, I've had some discussions with the powers that be around women in engineering and how to get more of us involved. Clearly, I only speak for myself, but I'm one of the few who speak up.

Turns out there are lots of tracking ways to know all about people - and there are fewer than 10% women on here. Interesting.

And I'm not saying don't listen to men - I'm saying don't rule out a website because it's only run by women.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Relevant analogy:

Quote (US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

“So now the perception is, yes, women are here to stay. And when I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the supreme court]? And I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

I find it hard to argue with that. If I never thought there was a problem when there were nine men, something is amiss if the thought of nine women causes concern. If people are appointed based upon qualifications, and at some point it ends up being nine women, protesting the situation, while never showing concern over nine men, would be obviously sexist. It shows the assumption that it's "normal" if men dominate something, but abnormal if women do.

So why would you question or criticize Huffington Post for having such a female-heavy staff?

I personally dislike reading HuffPo for entirely content related reasons. I've read plenty of well written articles on there. But when it comes to only having so much time to read the news, they don't make the cut. The reasons are -far- from having to do with their staff demographics, though. But to say that BECAUSE of the demographics of their staff, they are a lesser organization, is terrible. You should dislike them because they EARNED your ire :) Not because they're led by women.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

When I started engineering school (mid-60's) the student male/female ratio at our "Technological University" was 28:1. The irony was that when it came to the faculty, the ratio was much more "enlightened", perhaps closer to 16:1. Today the student ratio is something like 5:1, but the faculty ratio is more like 8:1.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

My school was founded by a pair of sisters in memory of their brother.
My class had zero females.
The next class had, I think, four, two of whom were nuns.
The ratio is much less inequal now.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

When applying to the law, one could argue that it should be fair, and male/female ratio does not matter. But one could also argue males and females have different view points.

Same in engineering. So which is the correct ratio?

I was not aware the HuffPo was run by women, I just thought of it as very left wing.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Anyone care to weigh in on whether this Australian company's policy would be legal in the US? Based on some brief research, I would say no, but I am certainly no lawyer. Grutter vs. Bollinger is precedent for affirmative action but against "quotas" specifically.

Also, I am curious as to where people fall on the following questions. I'm not trying to trap anyone in a logical paradox. I just want to know how everyone is thinking, that I might empathize. Feel free to elaborate.

- Discrimination is wrong. Agree or disagree?
- Sexism is wrong. Agree or disagree?
- Discrimination based on sex occurs in the workplace on an institutional (official) level. Agree or disagree?
- Discrimination based on sex occurs in the workplace on a cultural and individual level. Agree or disagree?
- Laws and/or policies that discriminate based on sex are wrong. Agree or disagree?

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Quote:

- Discrimination is wrong. Agree or disagree?
Discrimination comes in many forms. Some's ok. If we're still talking about sex/gender, then yes, it's wrong for any job where the sex is not directly tied to the actual job duties.

Quote:

- Sexism is wrong. Agree or disagree?
Agree

Quote:

- Discrimination based on sex occurs in the workplace on an institutional (official) level. Agree or disagree?
Agree, overall.

Quote:

- Discrimination based on sex occurs in the workplace on a cultural and individual level. Agree or disagree?
Agree, overall. No one is immune, imo.

Quote:

- Laws and/or policies that discriminate based on sex are wrong. Agree or disagree?
Would have to address on a case by case basis. Policies that seek to promote opportunity where it was previously unjustly limited/deprived... I'm ok with, overall.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Sure, those are all great principles, if everything was on an even keel already.

But, that's hardly the current situation, and hardly ever been the situation. So, let's say you have a demographic that's been and is culturally downtrodden, demoralized, and has poor representation. And let's say that these principles are enshrined and agreed upon, but it turns out that everyone has hidden or latent biases, or even not so hidden or latent. How would these principles, by themselves, address the situation? When those in power are the demographic that benefits from the current situation, are these principles enough to reverse centuries or even millenia of oppression?

in some sense, what's actually needed is some sort of brain alignment process where everyone can get their biases removed. Short of that, I don't see that simply saying that we've made everything color-blind, or gender-blind actually does anything except absolve us of doing the hard work of actually fixing things.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

My job would actually be better done buy a woman. Why? Because they are the main customer of the product. However, I don't think we can actually try and recruit one directly...

The chemical fields seem to be more popular with women for some reason (and they have defiantly done well there).

It is ironic that the first computer programmers were women.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

Based on the original definition, the first 'computers' WERE often women, which is why I suspect that that they a leg-up when actual computers, first mechanical and then electronic, come on the scene. If anyone has had the opportunity to see the recent movie 'Hidden Figures' you'll see this played-out in the film, which was based on actual historical events and real persons.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I liked Hidden Figures but I wish they didn't include a few silly scenes. I thought the scene at the start of the movie was pretty silly with how they started their stalled car. One of the leads bypassed the starter motor with a screwdriver and some sparks flew and the motor started. If that is all it took to start a motor, why do we even have starter motors? I know they wanted to show that these women were mechanically inclined but they could have had them push start a diesel car or change up the scene somehow to show the same without being silly. I think if the same scene was played with male leads, they would have been given more credibility like with solution being tightening up the timing belt, something real that shows that yeah they know cars.

The second scene that I thought was a little silly was when one of the leads was trying to figure out how to solve those hard orbital differential equations. Costner ,the head NASA guy, is like "only if there was a different old method on how to do this?" and one of the black female leads brings up euler's method. I know they wanted to show that these women weren't just glorified accountants or calculators but it was kind of silly because NASA had already in the movie purchased these huge computers, which would have been used explicitly for the purpose of using numerical methods to solve differential equations. The movie makes it look like the computers were purchased before they figure out that they needed to use Euler's method ,an almost 200 year old method by one of the most famous mathematicians, to numerically solve their orbital equations. I get that movie wants to recognize their contributions and they should be recognized. The amount of harassment and belittlement shown in the movie was probably heavily marginalized to keep the movie light hearted. The hurdles they overcome to be recognized as legitimate contributors were likely larger than any technical problem they came across.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

I have not seen the movie, but I have used a screwdriver or wrench to bypass a bad starter solenoid on numerous occasions. And the sparks do fly.

RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

There's two possibilities - dud solenoid or dud ignition key. In the latter case energise the solenoid from the battery positive. Small sparks.

In the case of dud solenoid after hitting it with a hammer just to be sure then short battery + to starter motor + (the two big cables on the solenoid).

You won't damage the battery. You will melt steel and copper.

None of this is much good if the starter itself is broked.



Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Gender Based Hiring Quotas in Australia

The movie didn't portray it as being the solenoid because you could hear the starter turn.

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