×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?
70

Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)
I had a buddy talk me into applying to the same place he's working....and I take a look at the place later (nothing like looking after you leap)....and in a company that's 90% male....they've got women in just about ALL the lead positions. I know at least 2 of them.....and they are nowhere near as qualified as some of the other people there.

Is there even a way to avoid this now? (Except at the smaller companies.) I am not anti-female in any way....but this sort of thing has resulted in chaos everywhere I've been that had it.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Going to get worse, you ask me. Glad to not be in the "workforce" anymore. I'd strangle the next HR type I came across :)

Edit: in Bold

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Glad to not be in the "workforce" anymore.

Lucky you. Still another 20 for me. smile

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

If I had to do over again I'd try real hard to be self employed.

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

It's unavoidable. In the USA, there are even tax credits for, let's say, hitting certain quotas. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is one example of federal involvement on the issue. I suppose it's an optics thing. Have to make the industry look equitable. I think that's why Carol Drucker's mug is on so many AISC Steelwise pages.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

When I was a manager at McDonnell Douglas, working in our Detroit office, one of the people in my group, a female engineer (BS Aerospace from Georgia Tech), was on what they called the 'fast-track'. Instead of doing an annual performance review, for her, I had to do one every six months. Now don't get me wrong, she was the real deal and had very good promise. In fact, just before I transferred back to R&D, taking a staff position to the VP of software development, she got a chance to move to a corporate level job at the company headquarters in St. Louis.

Now it looked like she was finally going to move up into a job she really wanted, when a few years later, she up and quit and moved back home to Atlanta. It turns out that we shared birthdays, only she was exactly 10 years younger than I was, but after she left my group and I went back to SoCal and she moved to St. Louis, we'd always exchange phone calls on our birthday just to see how things were going. The first call after she left the company I found out what happened. She was being sexually preyed upon by a high ranking corporate executive in the company (note that she was a good looking women and had a great personality). Anyway, the guy was married and she said NO WAY, but he kept hounding her and HR refused to get involved as he was a long time employee and an old high school classmate of the company president. Now I had heard rumors because she used to work for me and people would tell me stories, but I wasn't in a position to do much of anything and she never complained to me directly, at least not until after she had left the company.

Now, she ended-up OK, but she never married. Instead she put all her effort into the company she started back in Atlanta. Her father was a general contractor and her brother worked with him, so she started a paint and drywall company, doing subcontracting for them and other builders as well as some repair and restoration work on her own, but that experience in St. Louis really took its toll on her. Note that this all took place back in the late 80'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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

When I was a manager at McDonnell Douglas, working in our Detroit office, one of the people in my group,..............

Ok but your story is about sexual harassment (as far as I can tell). That's a separate subject.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Small companies essentially. Still have to listen to them talk about being underpaid (although in my case, APEGA"s statistics and my anecdotal evidence shows that my female peers have out earned me for the same work for all 10 years of my career). Come on now, I know the type of people that own engineering consulting firms. If they could pay women 77 cents on the dollar they would only ever hire women.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Restrained myself. Needed the job (I didn't get)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2
This is my experience (anecdotal, of course): the women I know who made it far in engineer just on their merits almost uniformly despise affirmative action.

============
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

3
@op

I Think somebody needs a cookie and a hug…

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Affirmative action has been barely effectual, for the most part; otherwise, there would be more women beyond the glass ceiling.
https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-n...

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

I Think somebody needs a cookie and a hug…

A valium more accurately.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

As someone typed, look at small companies. They can't afford to hire for anything other than productivity.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2
Large companies can't afford to hire for anything other than productivity as well.

Unless you know something beyond "nowhere near as qualified as some of the other people there" you have no basis for making any judgements. Lead positions are not just about technical competency; people skills, leadership, etc., all play into such decisions.

I consider myself "qualified" technically, but never had any interest in management, i.e., herding cats, BTDT; not fun, not rewarding to me.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2
IMO Affirmative action is a bad solution to a much worse problem. Lots of unintended consequences, but I don't think we can fully right the ship without some measure of direct action.

The worst to me is the eminently qualified women and POCs that must bear the "affirmative action hire?" question mark hovering over their heads at all times.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

IRstuff. That simply isn't true. Large companies are more likely to have more minimally productive "bodies" and other results of pandering/nepotism. It's an unavoidable fact.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

IRstuff. That simply isn't true. Large companies are more likely to have more minimally productive "bodies" and other results of pandering/nepotism. It's an unavoidable fact.

Exactly. And even in large companies, having a bunch of voids sitting in production positions just puts more weight on other people.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2
The proliferation of "protected classes" is discouraging.

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

5
I think the OP is sounding more and more like the snowflakes he purports to despise.

OP: Did the old rules get changed on you? Did you lose out the first time you played on a level field? Boo hoo.
If you're blaming affirmative action, you forgot to look in the mirror.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

I think the OP is sounding more and more like the snowflakes he purports to despise.

Pardon me but when exactly have I claimed to dislike "snowflakes"?

Quote:

OP: Did the old rules get changed on you?

Yeah, things like productivity (and competence) use to matter.

Quote:

Did you lose out the first time you played on a level field?

Well...no. If you will note in my OP....I am talking about how some places are run as a result of this stuff. I am not talking about me necessarily filling some of those roles.

I would suggest reading my posts more thoroughly before coming up with all these strawmen.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

Exactly. And even in large companies, having a bunch of voids sitting in production positions just puts more weight on other people.

Do you have first hand knowledge of this? I've worked for companies that are 10,000 to 150,000 employee strong, and haven't met anyone any less competent or less productive as the smallest companies I worked for. Sounds like you are just throwing out stereotypes of large companies and women and the immediate assumption that women must have been promoted on less stringent bases because they couldn't have possible been more qualified than the men they passed by.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Do you have first hand knowledge of this?

Yep.

Quote:

I've worked for companies that are 10,000 to 150,000 employee strong, and haven't met anyone any less competent or less productive as the smallest companies I worked for.

I've worked for some of the largest EPC outfits in the country (in fact, in the world). And anyone who hasn't noticed this must have blinders on.

Quote:

Sounds like you are just throwing out stereotypes of large companies and women and the immediate assumption that women must have been promoted on less stringent bases because they couldn't have possible been more qualified than the men they passed by.

Well, as usual, what you are hearing isn't what I am saying. (And I think we've had enough strawmen for one thread.)

I've seen this with my own eyes. One of the outfits I alluded to is right here in the area I live and I have worked for them. They've got a female head of Project Management. When I worked there I had the displeasure of working with her. One big issue was she was never there. (And her frequent absences had nothing to do with work.) Another was just how rude and abrasive she was. (One guy quit over difficulties with her, and he made it a point to let HR know that. Sounds like someone you'd want to promote eh?) And of course the last big issue was (in spite of her engineering degree) she apparently knew nothing about engineering (in any discipline)....or really much else. I kept waiting to see an upside (scheduling knowledge, estimating knowledge, real management skills, etc, etc) and I never saw that. And here she is the head of the PM group.

And it was like that all the time with a lot of other positions that directly effected someone like me. So don't you tell ME what this has been like when I've had to clean up after some of these people. I don't know what it is like at some aerospace outfit and I don't give a rip either. That's not what I do.

And (again) this isn't hating on any particular group (there are plenty of competent women out there).....this is about putting people in key positions for all the wrong reasons.





RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

3
Its a simple business proposition that regularly comes up. If your company is owned by or employs the quota of protected classes stateside then it is eligible for various tax incentives, subsidies, and even non-competitive govt contracts. I've personally seen examples of all three, and yes, the system disproportionately incentivizes large companies in that regard. When I was younger the folks who refused to identify their race or gender on paperwork seemed rather nutty to me. Nowadays I generally refuse to do so, including identifying as a veteran bc I know the purpose of it. I dont need the govt to help me get hired, I need them to not help others. Taxes are much the same way - I dont need the govt to give me more of my money back based on an absurdly complex/expensive system of credits and deductions, I need them to take less in the first place.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

I've seen this with my own eyes. One of the outfits I alluded to is right here in the area I live and I have worked for them. They've got a female head of Project Management. When I worked there I had the displeasure of working with her. One big issue was she was never there. (And her frequent absences had nothing to do with work.)

And in all your years, you've never known a male manager do that?

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

And in all your years, you've never known a male manager do that?

And get promoted.....in fact, all the way to the top? No.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

One can make the argument that women tend to have better people skills than men.
And some organizations value people skills highly for supervisory / management positions.
So if you're judging them purely on technical, it might not be the whole story.

With that said, we've had about five young women in engineering that I recall at my workplace the last 20 years.
Three were fast-tracked into some form of operator training which is how generally engineers move into management.
Zero remain. A few dropped out of the work market for family considerations. The others went on to other jobs.
I dunno what it means, it is what it is.

=====================================
(2B)+(2B)' ?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Of course in the bad old days there was another interpretation on how certain women achieved certain positions. I don't think that was better :)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Unless someone completely different gets planted at the top, nothing changes. I have been a "victim" of affirmative action, and I don't feel too scarred by it. There is plenty of room at the table. Different perspectives are refreshing.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

9
WARose - if you have never seen an incompetent male get promoted to management, including to the top, you have lived a very sheltered existence.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Historically, male managers get a pass on a lot of these issues; a WOMAN is considered "rude" or "abrasive," while the man is "commanding" or "take charge."

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

In my part of the world all goverment jobs get determined by AA. This has caused all government entities (power, rail, aviation) to be run into the ground. In terms of engineering, the expertise is not there any more, or not enough, so all the work gets outsourced. So the tax payers effectively pays double.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

As it should be. The only finger wagging harpy I'm willing to put up with is my wife.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

WARose - if you have never seen an incompetent male get promoted to management, including to the top, you have lived a very sheltered existence.

Anyone ever seen a employer brag about that? Well, guess what? A lot of companies brag that they practice AA. That's the issue.

And even if you want to run with that theory (i.e. that a lot of incompetent white males wound up [here or there] because they were white & male in the past)....that's forgetting one big thing: especially in production positions these days, there isn't a lot of "fat" anymore. Every year the number of people on a project just keeps getting leaner. So there really isn't room anymore for discrimination (be it reverse or regular).

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

A lot of companies brag that they practice AA. That's the issue.

Why is THAT an issue? All companies indulge in hyperbole, "world-class," "best in class."

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Why is THAT an issue?

Why do you think? What have I been talking about in this thread? (I.e. in terms of what this means in the trenches.)

What would be the issue with a employer bragging that they give preference to white males? Would that be a problem?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

So you think having the MAJORITY of management being white and male should stand and not be changed at all.

IF that is the best they can find? Absolutely. And it goes more for production type positions than anywhere else.

It should be like the NFL draft (a bit of a irony there in comparing to a all-male institution, but there it is). Whomever can help us the most is who we get. Hell, it use to be, they didn't care if you smoked crack on your spare time as long as they thought you could produce for them.

That's the way it ought to be. This isn't a social experiment.....this is work.

Clear enough? Or do I need to try putting it in braille next?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

You make an unwarranted presumption that all companies' owners will suicidally decide to intentionally hire incompetent management.

There is a future for you in hospice care because you are very good at putting things in people's mouths....especially words. That is not a assumption I am making at all.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

4
Yikes. I've been watching this one passively. Feels like the conversation, such as it was, has completely devolved. If I may offer a couple of thoughts:

As TheTick said early, AA is a bad solution to a worse problem. A look around the engineering community in the US and it's easy to see that it's dominated by white men, and in proportions that don't match the larger demographic of the country. To figure out if that's a problem, we have to try to figure out why it happened. Women and minorities are certainly no less competent generally than white men when afforded the same opportunities for education and training, so it's not that. That suggests there's some sort of discrimination in the system somewhere - whether it's early on in ways girls and minorities are taught and directed toward future career choices that discourage engineering, echoes of historic (and, in some cases, ongoing) racism and sexism that makes access to higher education more difficult, or discrimination in the hiring process and ongoing promotion ladder.

AA attempts to combat this at the end of the line. Admirable, but unfortunately it's too late at that point. Many of the potentially promising candidates who would otherwise have succeeded were told it's not for them, or that they should do something else instead, or were never told anything and left to figure it out on their own (and they didn't), or they couldn't afford it. So while many may be competent and capable, what's left isn't always the cream of the crop. But that's what's left to fill the quotas set out by AA. And as CWB1 points out, there are clear business advantages to following the quota system. I've heard of a few firms that restructured to ensure they were at least 51% woman owned...sometimes by putting the firm in the name of the engineers' wives...to get some big state contracts.

A lot of damage has been done in this country on account of race and gender, and while reaching a point where we're all colorblind and...gender blind?...is a great goal, we're not there and can't get there until much of the damage is repaired. I'm not sure exactly how we do it, but I do know that it can't be done unless we acknowledge that the damage is still affecting real people in a real way today and face it. The fix has to be from the ground up.

Quotas are not the answer, but until we come up with a better idea it's what we're stuck with.



RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I don't really see that much room for incompetent people of any gender to survive in management positions in the modern consulting market. You might have the odd bad apple but as a systemic thing it would be impossible to sustain - there are always 20 other 'world leading consulting firms' who just cut their overhead 5% by moving their office out of the city who are ready to take your lunch and eat it, and an almost limitless number of small engineering shops setup by your former employees ready to vacuum away work and clients.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (IRstuff)

You make an unwarranted presumption that all companies' owners will suicidally decide to intentionally hire incompetent management.
These situations aren't binary. More typical: There are several decent candidates and it's not obvious that an overrepresented group candidate is the best fit, so choose the candidate from the underrepresented group. Another example: Sort the pile of resumes so that any underrepresented group candidates are near the top.

Social scientists don't agree on why the disparities exist. Search the internet for "why are there more male chess grandmasters" and read the arguments on both sides. The subject at hand is similar. Nobody knows why the percentages are what they are. We all have our guesses and opinions.

Thus, during hiring or promotion decisions, an unfairness that might not exist is remedied by intentional unfair treatment of some candidates. If that's not a textbook example of a racist or sexist process, then I don't know what one would look like.

The only solution is to treat all individual people with respect and fairness and let the chips fall where they may.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I think the answer to what 271828 is alluding to is actually pretty clear in the literature but it's not popular in certain circles. Essentially, the bell curve for women isn't as wide and in certain domains the average / median of the curve is shifted slightly to the right of the average / median for men at a population level. So, on average, women might be slightly better than men, at a population level, in a host of subjects and disciplines, but the outliers (the really really productive / smart people and the really really dumb unproductive people, essentially) are disproportionally male. The hyperproductivity of a small group of people who are primarily men at one end of the bell curve (and, by contrast, the hyper criminality or what have you of the primarily men at the other tail of the bell curve) is thus explained.


RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (geotechguy1)

I think the answer to what 271828 is alluding to is actually pretty clear in the literature but it's not popular in certain circles. Essentially, the bell curve for women isn't as wide and in certain domains the average / median of the curve is shifted slightly to the right of the average / median for men at a population level. So, on average, women might be slightly better than men, at a population level, in a host of subjects and disciplines, but the outliers (the really really productive / smart people and the really really dumb unproductive people, essentially) are disproportionally male. The hyperproductivity of a small group of people who are primarily men at one end of the bell curve (and, by contrast, the hyper criminality or what have you of the primarily men at the other tail of the bell curve) is thus explained.
To my knowledge, this is the most likely explanation, although others have different and opposing opinions.

Near the ends of the bell curve, there might be 5-10x as many of one group relative to another.

I think part of the story is that competition is different at elite levels, whether we're talking sports or the board room. Small differences in competitors result in big differences in outcomes.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Another reason is simply that women don't want to be engineers at the population level - see how despite all the efforts in the nordic countries female participation in engineering is declining. We're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Does any of that control for childhood influence? I agree that if you somehow took a poll of all the men and women in developed nations and asked them if they wanted to be engineers, the answers women would give would likely be a disproportionate 'no.' But that doesn't mean that women aren't suited for the job. It likely means that, through a number of societal influences, they have a preconceived notion that engineering - or more likely the math and science that forms the basis of most engineering - is too hard or not something they would enjoy.

So we shouldn't be trying to fit any pegs into any holes. We should be sure that we're encouraging everyone to have the courage to try something new and different and enabling them to find success. Not succeeding for them, but ensuring they have the necessary guidance and that as many needless obstacles are removed as it's possible to do. This isn't a problem that gets solved today. It will take generations for the effects of past mistakes to wear off.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

The nordic countries have been trying to get women into engineering for long enough to rule out childhood influence. The countries with the highest female participation rates in engineering are middle eastern countries, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE I believe, - maybe we can take a lesson from them?

Even more curiously female participation in STEM is essentially inversely correlated with gender equality. The more gender equal a country is the lower the female STEM participation rate.

Unfortunately I think the lesson is that women only want to do STEM, especially engineering, when it's the only pathway to financial freedom and possibly a pathway to the west. The only field I see this changing in is medicine - I reckon Doctor's will end up being pretty strongly majority women over the next 30-40 years.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Here's an alternative to affirmative action: Accept the differences between men and women as they are. Hire the best person for the job. There actually very real reasons to want to hire female engineers to your team if you're a manager - if or when I am in a position to influence hiring I know full well I'll want to hire women as well as men and it has nothing to do with affirmative action policies.

https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/20...

Who wouldn't want their engineering teams to have some engineers with higher social cognition and ability to create solutions that work for the group, along with people who are insanely skilled and specialized at certain tasks and functions?

I don't think bias from female k-12 teachers and moms during childrearing their daughters is the cause of women wanting to be nurses, doctors, teachers, and childcare workers instead of engineers, tradesmen and lawyers.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

My alma mater, MTU (Michigan Technological University) as a summer youth program for high school students where they can experience college, in one-week segments, across a broad range of disciplines, including of course, engineering. Now none of our sons showed any interest (two are chefs and one is an IT geek), so we turned our focus to our granddaughters. The first three showed no real interest, but #4, Lynsey, (who's 16 and will be a junior next year) is all set to attend a week in July. We were all set to send her last year but the summer sessions were cancelled. But we're good to go this year.

Anyway, I was hoping that she would be interested in engineering, but she always been interest in medicine. A few years ago, she had to have an operation on her foot and she spent the week leading up to the surgery researching on orthopedic procedures (she's a bit of brain). So for a couple of years she wanted to go into sports medicine, but since the pandemic and the air time that Dr Fauci has been getting, she's now thinking about going into research. For her week on campus, she's opted for a class in 'Human Physiology'. Now my old school, considering that it's primarily an engineering school, has been expanding it's biological curriculum, and part of that effort is encouraging more high school girls to participate in those summer youth programs.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (phamENG)

Does any of that control for childhood influence? I agree that if you somehow took a poll of all the men and women in developed nations and asked them if they wanted to be engineers, the answers women would give would likely be a disproportionate 'no.' But that doesn't mean that women aren't suited for the job. It likely means that, through a number of societal influences, they have a preconceived notion that engineering - or more likely the math and science that forms the basis of most engineering - is too hard or not something they would enjoy.

Why dismiss innate differences between the groups?

If we expect the disparities to be due to societal influences and preconceived notions, then we should first expect the bell curve of every human characteristic to be identical for all groups. Has anybody produced a set of bell curves showing this?

The only comparisons of bell curves I've seen have been on IQ in the chess grandmaster question, and the male curves are flatter and wider, so there are a lot more males out near each edge of the curve. Engineering requires similar aptitudes in spatial visualization and logic, so I think there's a good chance that such differences are at least part of the explanation for the disparities.

Quote (phamENG)

So we shouldn't be trying to fit any pegs into any holes. We should be sure that we're encouraging everyone to have the courage to try something new and different and enabling them to find success. Not succeeding for them, but ensuring they have the necessary guidance and that as many needless obstacles are removed as it's possible to do. This isn't a problem that gets solved today. It will take generations for the effects of past mistakes to wear off.

If the last three or four decades haven't encouraged or enabled underrepresented groups enough, then I don't know what to say. Universities and many companies bend over backward to encourage and enable underrepresented groups.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Obvious questions reveal the insanity of this entire subject.

Is the endgame of diversity to force there to be no underrepresented groups in any position?

Does the quest for diversity include careers that currently have a lot more females, such as nursing and child care?

Does it include all sports?

Does it include parameters other than sex and race? How about height in the NBA or size in the NFL?

Does it include making sure poor areas such as parts of the southeast and Appalachia equally represented in academia and in corporate board rooms?

I assume the answer to each of those is "no." In that case, are there valid criteria for selecting which fields get leveled?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (271828)

Why dismiss innate differences between the groups?

It's never wise to attribute something so stupid to a man that smart. phamENG has not said or implied that innate differences do not exist rather he has stated that ones calculus should take characteristics of nurturing into account; and while its influence may be less than readily calculable, it is reasonably nontrivial and should not be ignored.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Enable, I think he is capable of answering for himself.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

Why dismiss innate differences between the groups?

The converse is the OP's implication that women in management is innately bad. Considering that it took over 100 years after women got the right to vote that we even have a woman vice president, we are easily a century away from being able to assert anything significant about true "innate differences." Toys for girls are still predominantly shaded in pink; that's not necessarily innate, that's some marketing person, likely male, making those decisions.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2
Performance counts. 100 years to get a woman vice president, and then we got the wrong one. See link above.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (IRstuff)

Considering that it took over 100 years after women got the right to vote that we even have a woman vice president, we are easily a century away from being able to assert anything significant about true "innate differences." Toys for girls are still predominantly shaded in pink; that's not necessarily innate, that's some marketing person, likely male, making those decisions.

I can't find pre-1950 data but from 1950 onwards at least the United States population has been majority female: https://knoema.com/atlas/United-States-of-America/... . If women wanted female politicians they've had the majority for at least 70 years to get it done. In modern elections women also turn out at a higher rate than men, so, not only are there ~5% more women than men, something like 64% of women turnout to vote vs 59% of men. That ratio is enough for female voters to control the composition of the presidency, senate and house.

Re toys - women control the decision making for the overwhelming majority of consumer spending (https://hbr.org/2009/09/the-female-economy). It's not a male marketing person making decisions to make pink toys because he's a sexist, it's more likely a marketing person (isn't marking a female primary profession anyway?) deciding to sell and market pink toys because women control consumer spending and women want to buy pink toys for their daughters.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

The converse is the OP's implication that women in management is innately bad.

Still putting words in people's mouths.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Just reading your title and your OP

I'd suggest reading all my posts in this thread. I am not saying women in management is "innately bad".....just (in my experience) when they wind up there because they are women. (I.e. AA.)

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

A look around the engineering community in the US and it's easy to see that it's dominated by white men, and in proportions that don't match the larger demographic of the country. To figure out if that's a problem, we have to try to figure out why it happened.

The problem with studying demographics stateside is that most of the US isn't really as diverse as the media would have us believe. Their favorite region to forget, rural America not only represents the overwhelming majority of the US geographically but also seriously skews the statistics by nature of the fact that caucasian males are the overwhelming majority of the workforce in those areas. One of the funnier experiences with AA I have witnessed was a HR head informing us that caucasian males wouldn't be hired until we had met her "diversity and inclusion" goal. Then living in a fairly small midwest town a few hours from nothing, that meant we didn't hire anyone for a few months until the goal was abandoned bc there was effectively no one else to hire.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Note that I was born and raised in a town in Northern Michigan with less than 900 people and the closest town over a 1,000 was 32 miles away and it only had a population of about 3,000 (the county we lived in had just over 4,000 residents). When I was in the 8th grade, there were only six kids in my class, we had to take a bus 18 miles to the county high school where there were 30 students in my class. It wasn't until I went to engineering school that I resided in a town larger than 5,000. And that's also the first time I ever interacted with anyone who could be described as a member of a racial minority (our town did have a small community of Finnish immigrants) and even then, most of those were foreign students.

I'm just saying this so that you know that I'm aware of the make-up of so-called rural America.

That being said, while I might agree with much of what you alluded to about the 'diversity' of much of the country, you still have to admit that the difference in population numbers between urban and rural America is significant and must be acknowledged for what it is, a factor of nearly 5:1



https://www.statista.com/statistics/985183/size-ur...

It would be wrong to gauge an approach for addressing solutions to inequity in the nation by focusing on anecdotal stories of how things don't work in what you describe as "the overwhelming majority of the US geographically". What about the overwhelming majority of the population of the US? What about them?

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Nonsense. Recognizing the impact of rural demographics on national statistics doesn't mean that someone is ignoring another portion of the population, quite the opposite in fact. Treating the US like one large homogeneous population OTOH is somewhere between dishonest and ignorant.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

Treating the US like one large homogeneous population OTOH is somewhere between dishonest and ignorant.

And that's likely the kind of same argument proffered by segregationists. And, it's not inconceivable that some companies move to rural areas specifically to avoid having to hire non-whites and to only hire like-minded people. That's already been evident in the so-called "white-flight" that started with whites moving out from the cities into suburbs and redlining out minorities; when that failed, the white-flight was toward white-majority towns and states.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (IRstuff)

...Considering that it took over 100 years after women got the right to vote that we even have a woman vice president, we are easily a century away from being able to assert anything significant about true "innate differences."
To avoid putting words in your mouth, I'll ask a question:

What is the reason behind the lack of female VP or president? If you think there are multiple reasons, which reasons do you think are dominant?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (IRstuff)

I can only guess at some of the reasons
> men are "leaders"
> one heartbeat away
> potentially hysterical
> too emotional

I'm not sure if you are saying:

#1 you think those four statements are true (I don't understand the second one.) and those deficiencies are your guesses why there have been no female VPs or presidents.

or

#2 you're guessing that men erroneously think those are true and thus prevent women from becoming VPs ro presidents.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

the latter, of course; there are other reasons https://www.thecut.com/2020/08/how-geraldine-ferra...
The second bullet item has, admittedly, been applied to male VP candidates as well, i.e., they are one heartbeat, or lack thereof, from becoming president; so the question is posed as whether we can tolerate a woman VP, but not possibly one that gets to the presidency because their running mate dies in office.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

We should be happy and celebrate the difference between the sexes, rather than seek homogenization. What we should not celebrate is selection totally based on sex or race, as was the case with VP Harris.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

And you think that past VP's were NOT "totally based on sex and race", eh?

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Yes, I do. They were based on ability, and sometimes geography. Geography was obviously not a consideration for Harris, as there was no question about California being the most liberal state.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I honestly didn't think you were that naive. I mean, in over 200 hundred years we've only had ONE VP who wasn't male and ONE who was not White. Spot a trend anyone...

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

The main issue is selection of VP candidate, not election thereof. So this is the third woman in recent times, by the major parties. My answer to your conclusion is that women must be smarter than men. Who would want the job?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2
...and this thread is exactly why thoughtful hiring considerations are required. I'd never want to work under OP or those with that thought process. It's limiting and destructive. In fact, I go out of my way to look into potential employers diversity. Given my my alma maters most recent graduating class was over 40% female and highest POC representation ever (on par with US demographic numbers, large state university), there really is no excuse for a firm nowadays to not be moving in the correct direction.

Quote (OP)

I had a buddy talk me into applying to the same place he's working....and I take a look at the place later (nothing like looking after you leap)....and in a company that's 90% male....they've got women in just about ALL the lead positions. I know at least 2 of them.....and they are nowhere near as qualified as some of the other people there.

Is there even a way to avoid this now? (Except at the smaller companies.) I am not anti-female in any way....but this sort of thing has resulted in chaos everywhere I've been that had it.

How do you think women and POC's feel when they see ALL white males in lead positions in 2021? This might be one of the most ignorant sentences I've read on eng-tips along with other supporters of your statements. Glad your kind are slowing moving out of the work force.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Enable - thanks for speaking up for me. 27128, he summed it up for me pretty succinctly (I was off enjoying my long weekend and staying off the internet as much as possible). I don't think we should ignore innate differences - I think we should embrace them. I just don't think we should declare that the trends of the last several decades are positive indicators of what those differences are. Your question regarding dismissing innate differences...I don't see them in terms of math and science. The state of mathematics education is the US is so awful it's hard to tell who's good at it and who would truly excel. The most brilliant mathematicians I've known have been women. Last I heard, a good friend from high school as a PhD in mathematics and is leading a team doing some sort of predictive modeling for the defense department. This is anecdotal, of course, but most of my limited experiences have busted a lot of those ideas. You mention several decades of encouragement to counter my point, but then you bring up colleges and employers. My whole point is that it's too late at that point. It has to start earlier. The kids who don't finish high school or graduate with terrible grades and no direction are already lost to that system's efforts.

I don't think inclusiveness and diversity is really a hot issue - with the exception of racists and sexists, I don't think anyone advocates actively excluding women and minorities from anything, and they're pretty rare (though some do have really big megaphones). I think the most contentious point is where the line is drawn. Do we declare it a victory when we pass laws saying you can't discriminate? Some people think so, and that's where most of the current resistance is coming from. We said you can't do it, and that's enough, so why all the ruckus? Or, do we declare victory when all of the social and economic barriers that were put in place over many decades or even centuries are removed? After all, we can no more pass legislation converting everyone in the country to a particular religion than we can pass legislation that makes everyone in the country accepting of women and color in the work place regardless of their qualifications.

Quote (27128)

Is the endgame of diversity to force there to be no underrepresented groups in any position?

Does the quest for diversity include careers that currently have a lot more females, such as nursing and child care?

Does it include all sports?

Does it include parameters other than sex and race? How about height in the NBA or size in the NFL?

Does it include making sure poor areas such as parts of the southeast and Appalachia equally represented in academia and in corporate board rooms?

I assume the answer to each of those is "no." In that case, are there valid criteria for selecting which fields get leveled?

1) No, but this feels like a reductio ad absurdum to me. Of course we're not going to create a statistically neutral world.
2) Sure. If more men want to work in those positions and feel they aren't be allowed to because they're men, they should speak up.
3)/4) If they can perform, I have no problem letting them play.
5) By this do you mean we should drive around and pick people from a hillside hovel to teach college courses and run businesses? No. But what we should do is make sure those places have the resources to encourage the children living there - and the adults if they're able - to learn something and do something that will improve their lot in life. Assuming, of course, they want to. I don't live far from there, and I've met a few folks up that way who are happy just as they are.

I never advocated leveling a field. I just want everyone to have genuine access to whichever one they choose to play on. If you read some of my earlier posts, I don't like affirmative action. I think the goal is admirable, but the execution is terribly flawed. If AA gets somebody an interview that they wouldn't have received otherwise, that's great. But if they aren't the best candidate for the job, they shouldn't get it. So in some ways I agree with what I think WARose is really frustrated about - companies playing the quotas game and ending up with people in positions where they don't belong.


RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

PhamENG, I don't disagree with starting earlier, but it requires a complete path; you can prime the pump (start earlier) but if there's nowhere to go, that's a huge discouragement. Most people are not diehards, so given the apparent atmosphere of sexism and racism down the road, why bother to try at all?

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

How do you think women and POC's feel when they see ALL white males in lead positions in 2021? This might be one of the most ignorant sentences I've read on eng-tips along with other supporters of your statements. Glad your kind are slowing moving out of the work force.

Speaking of ignorant statements: in a profession dominated by men (in the neighborhood of 80-90%, despite whatever your alma mater graduated recently).....does it make any sense to have a set of all-female leads? If you think that happened by their capabilities: you are fooling yourself.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

"Most people are not diehards, so given the apparent atmosphere of sexism and racism down the road, why bother to try at all?"

People who are not anti-fragile have no place in cut-throat, competitive, fields.

In my opinion, ideological arguments about the equity of a given domestic workforce pale in comparison to the problems currently arising from the increased outsourcing of STEM work to low-cost, global, locations.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

IRstuff - that's a good and fair point and I agree with it. We need a way of elevating people now who were negatively served by the 'system' to begin with. That 1) helps them and their communities and 2) provides role models for younger generations who are now being enabled and encouraged in ways they may not have been previously. BUT...I don't like the idea of giving somebody a position just because we need to meet a quota. That gives you this thread. It's damaging to productive discussions about equality and diversity, and gives people a good negative talking point and place to put all of the blame.

AA was put in place to fix a problem. There have been several studies that show that it has provided demonstrable results on a large scale - the stats for women and racial minorities in education and the workplace have increased dramatically, and in the early years the rates in those sectors subject to punishment if they failed to take affirmative action were much higher in sectors not subject to the same penalties. Most of the arguments against it have focused on a few anecdotes and a moral, anti-reverse-discrimination core to their case.

I can appreciate both camps. There was (and, to an extent, still is) a problem with discrimination in hiring. So requiring affirmative action to correct makes sense. I think the need to force people to realize that people of color, women, the disabled, etc. are capable of doing these jobs is less of a problem today than it was in the 50s and 60s. There are still issues with equality, but the crux of this discussion has been diversity and AA, so I'll keep it there. So now we still have these rules that are fixing a problem, and on a national identity level that starts to create a problem. It says that in 60+ years our nation has failed to fix this problem. That hurts. A lot. So on some level, removing this rule and saying we don't need it anymore is a way of saying 'we've done it!' and moving on. That probably isn't a conscious consideration in most, but I suspect it helps to direct the undercurrents of the discussion. Throw on top of that the fact that companies have taken affirmative action and it has worked, it feels more and more like those hired because of it are taking undue advantage of a system that penalizes other qualified people. And taken in isolation, as I did for a long time, it's easy to agree with that and want to rip AA apart. BUT...the problem isn't completely solved. It's helped a small slice of the under-represented population from the mid to late 20th century, but there are still huge disparities in our society that AA was supposed to address. And that gets back to my interest in earlier interventions to ensure kids have an opportunity.

So we need to end AA as soon as we can...but 'can' is a difficult word to agree on. If we do it too early, we jeopardize the effects of the newer programs to improve things earlier in the K-12 range. End it too late, and we drive a wedge even further between the disparate parts of our electorate that seem so intent on destroying one another...

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

People continue to blame AA, but there are few companies that would sacrifice their bottom line for the sake of AA by hiring incompetent people. They have no need to do so, nor would their stockholders agree to that. The first quarter of dismal results would quickly change both incompetent management and the board that hired them. Roughly 20 years since there was even a female CEO of a Fortune500 company and 20 years later, we've made a "record" of having 8% female CEOs.
https://www.statista.com/chart/13995/female-ceos-i...

And despite seemingly misogynistic rants, more women in management appear to be beneficial to the bottom line
https://www.thebalance.com/do-companies-with-femal...

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

People continue to blame AA, but there are few companies that would sacrifice their bottom line for the sake of AA by hiring incompetent people. They have no need to do so, nor would their stockholders agree to that. The first quarter of dismal results would quickly change both incompetent management and the board that hired them. Roughly 20 years since there was even a female CEO of a Fortune500 company and 20 years later, we've made a "record" of having 8% female CEOs.

lol Logic isn't one of your strengths is it?

I'll let you figure out the problem with those statements.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

If misogynists haven't limited the supply of talented women that could be CEOs, that might make your logic work

The problem isn't my logic: it's yours. Saying "few companies that would sacrifice their bottom line for the sake of AA by hiring incompetent people".....and then turning around and making the point only 8% of CEOs are female?

That's about as misogynistic as it gets.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

WARose - that's not how I interpret his statement. I see where you're going, but I think you're inadvertently making a false equivalency. The hiring of incompetent people and the ascendancy of women to top leadership roles aren't the same thing. He's arguing two separate points.

1) The kind of dedication to AA and perceived quotas that leads to widespread hiring of incompetent people is financial suicide for private firms.
2) The ability to climb the ladder once hired can be hampered by discriminatory practices regardless of your qualifications.

(I generally agree...though it's not always suicide. I think there are outliers as some have mentioned before that can fit into niche contract positions and attract a lot of work with limited competition due to well intended diversity goals for government contract allocations. Not as widespread as some believe, I'm sure, but something to be considered nonetheless.)

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

WARose - that's not how I interpret his statement. I see where you're going, but I think you're inadvertently making a false equivalency. The hiring of incompetent people and the ascendancy of women to top leadership roles aren't the same thing. He's arguing two separate points.

I'm not the one (subconsciously) calling women incompetent.....he is.

But it is worthwhile to note how people like this really think.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (WARose)

I'm not the one (subconsciously) calling women incompetent

I'm quite certain I didn't say, imply, or at any time (either before, during, or after the writing of that statement) think you were.

I was just trying to bring attention to the fact that the attacks you guys were throwing back and forth were almost certainly based on misconceptions of each other, and what could be a productive conversation between professionals with divergent opinions on a topic that impacts how our profession(s) operate was devolving into a name calling session that belongs in the seediest corners of twitter.

I guess I'm too naive to think that people can talk to each other anymore. C'est la vie.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

I'm quite certain I didn't say, imply, or at any time (either before, during, or after the writing of that statement) think you were.

And I didn't say you did.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

WARose - then I apologize for my misunderstanding. To correct it, what was the purpose of quoting my statement explaining how I thought you misunderstood him and then what appears to be a defensive statement to oppose a statement that wasn't made? I think I may have missed something? (I realize that a certain reading of this could make me sound like a smart a$$...and in many cases that could probably be a fair description of me...but not this one.)

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I read phamENG's dissertation, and found the most incisive thing, and the thing with which I most agree, was this:

"I don't think inclusiveness and diversity is really a hot issue - with the exception of racists and sexists..." He carried on, and that is not his meaning, but I would have stopped there. Affirmative action is all about racism and sexism.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

hokie - fair enough. I guess all I can say is thank you for clarifying up front that you were taking my words out of context. Most wouldn't be so kind. bigsmile

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

WARose - then I apologize for my misunderstanding. To correct it, what was the purpose of quoting my statement explaining how I thought you misunderstood him and then what appears to be a defensive statement to oppose a statement that wasn't made?

I'm not really interesting in playing semantics, games, or whatever. What I am saying is as plain as it gets. And by the way, just a update from the OP (to further demonstrate what I am talking about): I finally (today) got a interview with these people cancelled. I've been trying to do it since Tuesday of last week. (Unreal.)

Yeah, I know: July 4th right? Well, to me at least, that doesn't cut it. When I was a section/discipline lead (at some of the large EPC outfits I mentioned.....before they went haywire with this stuff) I was checking my e-mail/voicemail every day. We are talking July the 4th, Christmas, or in the friggin' Grand Canyon on Thanksgiving. (Well, more accurately on the rim as I have always had trouble sending/getting anything once you get in.) Same with my bosses (department heads and so on). For somebody to go a week (especially a department head) with not checking anything is just nuts to me. Not even a auto reply set up. Cuckoo.

And I can just imagine the excuses I am going to hear in reply (this ought to be good for at least 20 more posts here smile): that couldn't happen in a company without AA?....[insert a anecdote about something similar supposedly happening at a all white male company here], and so on.

But you can talk all you want.....I see the differences.....and they ain't good.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

phamENG,
I was trying not to be kind to the racists and sexists among us, not you. They know who they are, but enjoying pointing the finger in any direction but inward.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

WARose - nor am I. I'm trying to understand what you're saying. I haven't been on this forum all that long in the grand scheme of things, but I certainly recognize lots of names and I've come respect yours on the technical forum for structural engineering (hokie66's, too, I might add). We clearly don't agree entirely on the issue at hand here, though there is some common ground. I'm interested in carrying on the conversation and, as I said, understanding what you mean. I'm genuinely confused by that exchange and was hoping to figure out what you meant.

Perhaps I was mistaken by the intent of the post. Was it intended to be a discussion or just venting about the subject? If the latter, no worries - sometimes it's good to get things off your chest and, if so, I apologize for following it in another direction.

hokie66 - if I read that correctly, we're on the same page. No hidden meaning behind my words. Lots of people would have taken it out of context and not said anything else. So thanks for being clear and up front.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Seriously? This is your writing

Quote:

does it make any sense to have a set of all-female leads? If you think that happened by their capabilities: you are fooling yourself.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Seriously? This is your writing
Quote:
does it make any sense to have a set of all-female leads? If you think that happened by their capabilities: you are fooling yourself.

Thanks for cutting off my quote. Here is the full quote:

Speaking of ignorant statements: in a profession dominated by men (in the neighborhood of 80-90%, despite whatever your alma mater graduated recently).....does it make any sense to have a set of all-female leads? If you think that happened by their capabilities: you are fooling yourself.

And I stand by it. Read my last post....a department head who doesn't check her e-mail once over a full week (and doesn't even have auto reply set up)?

In the world I'm from....you gotta put that one in the WTF file. bugeyed

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Sounds like WARose doesn't have a fullfiling life and looking for any reason to blame their perceived failures in life on women and/or POC.

Yeah I am such a failure in life I have people approaching me to work for them. (I have two additional companies coming at me now. And by the way, I own a LLC.)

Quote:

You and anyone in this thread who is pandering to you (i.e. trying to have an intelligent discussion / stroking your fragile white male ego) are a complete waste in the engineering profession. Not surprised you didn't get an interview.

Speaking of failure.....did you miss the fact I canceled this interview? (In addition to missing the fact a friend asked me to apply to this place in the first place?)

Hopefully your engineering skills are better than your reading skills.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (spieng)

You and anyone in this thread who is pandering to you (i.e. trying to have an intelligent discussion / stroking your fragile white male ego) are a complete waste in the engineering profession. Not surprised you didn't get an interview.

Can you imagine what would happen if someone on the anti-AA side had typed something like that? There would be calls for canceling, doxing, or worse.

"Play nice" is only for one side of this debate, right?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

"Play nice" is only for one side of this debate, right?

Essentially.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

No. It's for both all sides. But sadly a lot of people (also on both all sides) have either forgotten or, more likely, were never taught how to have a respectful and intelligent discussion with people they disagree with.

Edit: it's important to realize that in a real debate, there's rarely two sides to anything. Nuance is an important thing and can lead to lots of different stances on some topics.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

No. It's for both sides. But sadly a lot of people (also on both sides) have either forgotten or, more likely, were never taught how to have a respectful and intelligent discussion with people they disagree with.

I may have been part of the problem (and all apologies)....but if you go back through this thread and look....it was a lot of people coming at me first with a lot of hostility (and charges of bigotry and so forth).

At the risk of sounding like a 5 year old: they started it. wink

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Yep. Most seem to want to see the worst in people...especially on the internet. Combine that with an increasingly toxic atmosphere of identity politics with so many people retreating or being drawn into 'opposing camps' (and not just in the US, it seems), and throwing out a even a mild complaint about affirmative action is taken by one camp as meaning you're a racist and a sexist. I've seen nothing to indicate that you're either...I think you found yourself in a position where somebody who fits into a demographic historically aided by affirmative action was not performing to the standards you would expect someone in their position to meet. I may not agree with some of your or others' conclusions about it, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen to you. And we all need to hear unpopular things every now and then to remind us that the world is a big and varied place.

And hey...at least you have friends...I consider myself a centrist...and you can see where that got me. Both sides hate me!

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

3
I have been engaged with eng-tips for many years. In the last 5 years a growing percentage of threads have a social media vibe. Personal attacks to and from people that really don't know each other at all, and have a couple of isolated sentences to form context. Of course, just my perception. Don't ask for documentation.
This isn't Facebook - we can disagree without condemning, name-calling, and demonizing.
There's just a handful of trouble-makers here - please go somewhere else (i.e. back to your tribe on Facebook).

I will just say that at least some of these issues are being discussed somewhere (albeit imperfectly), which is good. At my last 2 jobs (public section + private sector), you couldn't speak common sense or plain facts about affirmative action - heck, you couldn't even mention a relevant but sensitive topic without getting a serious "sensitivity" lecture from your boss with a threat of disciplinary action (how do I know this?).

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

3
(OP)
Anybody that would make the comparison [in a now deleted post] of things like the Atlantic Slave trade and Jim Crow to what is being discussed here (and say someone not supporting AA is the equivalent of someone (tacitly at least) supporting slavery).....tells you either [A] how far we've gone off the rails as a society, or [B] how lousy a critical thinker that person is. (Or maybe both.)

But it is not at all surprising.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

The title of this thread and OP suggests that it would be nearly impossible to find a company that isn't filled with unqualified women in management positions, none of which are true. Otherwise, we'd be falling and tripping over a boatload of misrun and bankrupt companies and we'd have trouble finding a board of directors that wasn't overwhelmingly white and male.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

The title of this thread and OP suggests that it would be nearly impossible to find a company that isn't filled with unqualified women in management positions, none of which are true.

Considering the fact I (when I have worked for others) have typically worked for large EPC outfits that chase (among other things) big government contracts.....that perception is sort of unavoidable considering the fact they openly say they practice AA.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Doesn’t federally funded projects require firms with 50 employees or more to have a AA plan? So these large firms have to say they practice AA, openly or just as a footnote on their webpage.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

@ spieng89. Nice trolling.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

that perception is sort of unavoidable considering the fact they openly say they practice AA.

And yet, we still aren't tripping over a majority of companies run or managed by women, so the whole premise of the title and OP is specious

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

2

Quote (spieng89)

...white male fragility is showing tough in this thread.

Would it be OK with you if someone included "black female _____" in a post? (Fill in the blank with something negative.)

If not, then please explain why the double standard is acceptable.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

This thread is full of white male privilege. Just imagine a women or POC starting a thread complaining about incompetent white male managers who only got their positions based on nepotism, legacy system, or good ol' boy network. It wouldn't make it 3 posts before getting removed I am sure.

Give me a break. In this day and age? It's open season on white males...or really whites in general (especially southern whites). Do you see any backlash from the mainstream on the use of this "Karen" stereotype? Can you imagine what the backlash would be on a "Keisha" stereotype for black women? I think we all know what that one would be. It wouldn't make it into a M&M commercial.

Quote:

Coming from a position of privilege will allow you to misinterpret the comment. It's okay to have white male fragility as long as you acknowledge it and work to improve yourself and those who deleted the comment need to work on themselves as well.

The admins canned your comment. Take it up with them. (Maybe you'd like to be shown the door?)

Quote:

And to brag about getting offers from 2 companies in this busy time for structural engineers is sad.

Still need to work on those reading comprehension skills don't you?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

And yet, we still aren't tripping over a majority of companies run or managed by women, so the whole premise of the title and OP is specious

Still (either) not reading (and snipping) all of my comments eh?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I came third in my graduating class. My friend (another guy) came slightly ahead of me. The girl who came first was a long way ahead. The sort of person who'd get 98% in really hard university subjects. She could have done anything on her abilities. Her employer now lauds her as example of their "commitment to diversity", as though they've done her some big favour by hiring a girl. She's reduced to this token, where her greatest value for the company is that she's a woman who can tick a diversity box. She must feel a bit cheated, with people assuming she's a quota hire.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I've known a couple of female coworkers that fell into that 'hole', but that was back in the Midwest. Where I worked in SoCal, that wasn't the case. I guess the biggest reason why was because in our office, which was primarily software development and testing, about 35% - 40% of the professional staff was female, including my boss for several years. There were many truly outstanding contributors who would have never been considered 'token' employees simply because there was no reason to suspect that they were. We were also a fairly ethnically diversified crowd as well, with something like 20+ first languages being spoken other than English. Every thing from Russian, to Hebrew, to Farsi, to German, to Swedish, to Spanish, to Japanese, to Hindi, to Arabic, to Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), to Dutch, to Vietnamese, etc.

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: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

WARose, are there a lot of companies in your area and in your field that have a lot of female higher ups?

I’ve worked at four companies and none of them were structured that way. One company had about zero female principals in the office where I worked but several throughout the company while the other three companies had zero female principals or senior level project managers. So I’ve never been part of a larger company that saw a lot lead positions being taken over by AA mandates. But all the firms were big enough to require an AA plan.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

WARose, are there a lot of companies in your area and in your field that have a lot of female higher ups?

Yep. (In fact I think I have already indicated that.) The funny part is: I think even they know it's BS. One outfit I use to work for has a lot of "section leads" for various project types (i.e. pulp & paper, government, chemical, etc). And to look at their choices for those leads.....it's just ridiculous. Picking a gal 5-10 years out of college (only a PE in one state, not a SE) vs. a guy with 40 years under his belt in the pulp & paper biz and a SE all over the place? Come on. Even she admitted it was crap. (And I've checked her work before....and I'd have to say I agree.)

So yeah, I've seen it with these eyes.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Sorry I missed your experience before. That’s unfortunate and surprising to hear. I wonder why it seems like the norm for your area and not in others?

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

(OP)

Quote:

Sorry I missed your experience before. That’s unfortunate and surprising to hear. I wonder why it seems like the norm for your area and not in others?

We got a lot of big EPC/engineering outfits in the area. I remember reading somewhere that this area has (per capita) more engineers than anywhere else in the country.

I don't know if that is accurate though (considering places like Silicon Valley, Houston, etc).

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

6
I came 40/150 in my graduating class. A girl who was in the 130-140 / 150 range had 20+ job offers for every internship placement, and likewise after graduation. Most male peers would typically get 1 or 2 offers at best, usually none (or were second or third choices), and many were never able to find employment in the industry or waited 6+ months after graduation - in Alberta, of all places. Now her and many like her are in group management roles and senior engineering roles (7-8 years experience), with employers even graciously counting years off for mat leave as experience in salary reviews. Starting salaries - ditto - typically started on 5-10% higher than male peers. APEGA's salary survey data actually used to back this up for engineers under Level C (essentially everyone under 30) but they've altered the reporting now.

Lots of people 30 and under are going to have similar experiences to mine, and all the while we've still get the media and HR departments bleating on about how privileged we are.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Over a couple decades I've worked with a bunch of people in manufacturing and engineering in western NY and maritime canada. As far as office people go I've got a couple lists
1) Wow this person is exceptionally good to work with in a field of technical skill, perception and judgement.
2) This person is in the large and unexceptional middle group.
3) Wow his person is unusually lacking in technical skill, perception or judgement.

The few women in the field in my area are disproportionately represented on #1 (actually most of them are on the list), and #3 is all guys. For me, this is support for the twice as good to get half as far rule.
As far as people without pink skin, outside of the colleges, the field is whiter than a country club. Since I knew and worked with people in various non-white cohorts in school (in this area) and found them not to be especially lacking in technical skill, aptitude or judgment, I've concluded that they are uncomfortable working in the area, encounter barriers to access, or both.

So as far as my life, the original complaint does not hold water.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I think some of this thread is conflation of being able to manage a group and being a group lead. I more often have seen the reverse of a technical person being made manager because they were good technically but were horseshit at leading and managing due to a lack of interest so it was worse for everyone.

While a lot of us want to imagine most of our work is ground breaking, that usually isn't the case. Most engineers just need to stay on task and be timely and I have run into much fewer women who were fuck arounds.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (geotechguy)

I came 40/150 in my graduating class. A girl who was in the 130-140 / 150 range had 20+ job offers for every internship placement, and likewise after graduation.

Yep. This is common. And not only that, women applicants aren't just offered positions, they are actively courted, much like star athletes that schools fight over. If you hire a women you get to tick the gender box and boast of your commitment to inclusion and diversity.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Affirmative action takes the real and perceived exclusion from certain areas of work of certain groups of people and strives to convert that into greater competition for jobs in order to ultimately lower salaries. The bigger the company the bigger the potential savings so the greater the lip-service to make it appear they are pro-affirmative action while failing to provide the level of equality they claim to.

It's not an easy task, even for those genuinely interested.

By the time HR looks for candidates at least a decade of decisions has already been made as to who is available. Hiring practices won't fix that. But it will distort demand. For certain some companies will hire a person that is great for the position who they would not have otherwise done except for this policy.

On the other hand, that person is likely to be simultaneously missing out on another, far better position because they never heard of it or would, if not hired at one place, become a star elsewhere.

At that point it's back to a supply problem, not a hiring problem and increasing that supply means lowering salaries for all.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

5

Quote:

Lots of people 30 and under are going to have similar experiences to mine, and all the while we've still get the media and HR departments bleating on about how privileged we are.

It’s not just those <30, most working today have had similar experiences bc the discrimination hateful folks justify as “help” has been going on for decades both in education and the workplace. 25 years ago several female HS classmates filled token slots in our honors program despite poor grades. In college I saw a huge disparity in financial aid given to different races and sexes independent of academic performance. My personal favorite a few years ago was a female HR manager announcing that she would not approve hiring any white males until we had met her personal diversity and inclusion goal - in rural Indiana that meant not hiring engineers until she gave up ~6 months later. All of it is disgraceful, and worse yet it creates negative stereotypes about the groups it “helps.” It also creates ethical issues, one of the best female engineers I’ve worked with resigned rather than accept a promotion into management that she wasn’t remotely qualified for.

Sadly, I don’t see this nonsense stopping anytime soon. We have far too many ethically and morally corrupt individuals in society trying to justify their shortcomings by screeching about their perception of others.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote:

I came 40/150 in my graduating class. A girl who was in the 130-140 / 150 range had 20+ job offers for every internship placement, and likewise after graduation. Most male peers would typically get 1 or 2 offers at best, usually none

Is grade or GPA all that matter? What do you know about her life outside of academics that might improve her chances? Do you think that because someone is automatically good at school that they're a good engineer? I think we all know that isn't true, we're all worked with strong academics who are terrible engineers

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

Quote (Milliontown)

Is grade or GPA all that matter?

No but at an undergraduate level when applying to internship programs a students GPA is one of the most significant indicators of an applicants engineering knowledge. It shows that they at least know the basic science, and were able to demonstrate that in an environment many find stressful.

Quote (Milliontown)

What do you know about her life outside of academics that might improve her chances? Do you think that because someone is automatically good at school that they're a good engineer? I think we all know that isn't true, we're all worked with strong academics who are terrible engineers

Geotechguy1 may not know much about this persons life, but what do the 20+ internship programs know about it either? There may well be some relevant experience that would place a candidate from the bottom 15% of the class to the top of the pile, but it would seem unlikely to her peers. When there are diversity programs looking to fill 50% of engineering positions with women, and only about 20% of engineering graduates are women, women are much more likely to be offered employment than men. The simplest explanation of that disparity of outcomes is that when looking at a graduating class of 150 with a low percentage of female gradates is that companies that want to up their diversity figures offered internships to all or most of the female graduates, and a hand full of the most distinguished male applicants. I encountered a similar experience applying to internship programs when I graduated from a small school close to a decade ago. Some recruiters openly disclosed that they were only considering applications from the top 10% of the class or women and minorities, as they had filled all of their other positions with applicants at larger more prestigious universities.

RE: Can you even avoid affirmative action employers anymore?

I actually knew her quite well, and many others like her; it was an anecdote in response to an earlier anecdote in thread along the same lines. I'm certain that the disparity in number of offers and employability is due to affirmative action policies / quotas and not because year after year all the female students are more employable.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close