Recruitment

To: Michael Laws, Head of Talent:
If you are recruiting 50/50 men and women into mainly tech. positions, but are drawing from a national,or international pool containing a much higher proportion of men, how do you avoid discriminating against men?
Best Regards
Michael Warren

Hi @mw27818, where did you get these figures that they’re recruiting 50/50 men and women? Or is this a hypothetical question?

In your last thread you got this response:

We don't and won't set quotas, but we do work hard to make sure we present our opportunities to a more diverse set of potential candidates and to phrase them in a way that doesn't unintentionally bias them to a certain group.
To me that says they're simply striving to ensure their vacancies are available to all but will continue to hire based purely on talent and values.

@mowcius It’s not equal opportunity recruitment.

From https://bulb.co.uk/blog/people-matter-bulb-team-diversity-update

“The gender diversity of Bulb has increased from 33% of the team being female to 39% today. This is a direct result of our diversity champion actively sourcing female candidates for our roles. In fact, since Caroline joined our hires have been 50% female and 50% male.”

I wonder whether that is poor wording or that they are intentionally hiring women.
Actively seeking out primarily women for the application process is possibly dubious, but so long as all candidates who apply (which then may be mostly women) are being considered equally, is this an issue?

I think an assumption is still being made here that women are inherently a worse choice as hires for these roles and I don’t believe that’s true.

There may be far more men in tech roles, but as someone who has worked with a lot of men in tech, I can tell you that a significant quantity are utterly useless.
One of the best techs I’ve ever worked with (in terms of customer support, intuition and technical knowledge) is female.

I’m certainly not saying that women make a worse choice than men for these roles. What I’m saying is that the best person should get the job irrespective of how they’re going to affect Bulb’s diversity statistics.

I also don’t agree with Bulb’s perception of biological factors. Caroline states that the company doesn’t agree that biology makes men more suited to technology roles, but that’s missing the point. Biological factors don’t make men more suitable for the role but they do make men more attracted to it, hence the gender imbalance - caused by choice rather than discrimination.

Biological factors don't make men more suitable for the role but they do make men more attracted to it, hence the gender imbalance - caused by choice rather than discrimination.
But does that not mean that if they are simply encouraging more women to take a look at/apply for these roles, that's all positive?

How attractive the role is to people sounds like the biggest issue. If you want to try and hire the ideal person into a diverse team ignoring gender, nationality or sexual orientation, you want to try and advertise most to those groups who are not typically applying.

Hi all, to clarify, once someone has applied to Bulb we do our utmost to hire the most qualified candidate with no regard for race, age, gender, background, religion, sexuality or disability. We do strive to make sure our advertisements for roles are worded neutrally and are advertised to groups that wouldn’t normally apply to them.

We do this for two reasons, first we believe it’s right to give opportunities to everyone. And second, we have seen overwhelming evidence that more diverse businesses perform better and make better decisions.

We think carefully choosing where and how to advertise our roles is entirely necessary to combat inadvertent discrimination. For example, using language like “rockstar” or “code ninja” will strongly bias male candidates to apply and disincentivise female candidates. And we’ve found that by working with universities like Imperial instead of Cambridge we get a far more representative mix of ethnicity. We would otherwise inherit Cambridge’s selection bias. But of course, if a candidate from Cambridge who described himself as a “rockstar” applied, we’d consider him equally to all other candidates, only basing our decision on his suitability for the job. We can only advertise in a finite number of places in a finite number of ways.

Dear Michael at Bulb
Your sentence: ‘We do strive to make sure our advertisements for roles are worded neutrally and are advertised to groups that wouldn’t normally apply to them.’
That’s absolutely fine, so long as you don’t bias your advertising toward those groups.
By the way have you viewed the viral YouTube video between Ch4’s Cathy Newman and Jordan Peterson yet? I would love to be a ‘fly on the wall’ for the Bulb staff group discussion on that (and also James Damore’s Class Action Lawsuit document against Google and their diversity ethos).
Best regards
Michael Warren

Dear Mowcius
‘Figures’ came from:
Blog: People matter: Bulb team diversity update; “This is a direct result of our diversity champion actively sourcing female candidates for our roles. In fact, since Caroline joined our hires have been 50% female and 50% male.”
“Our technology, product and design team, which was 100% male in August, is now 50% male and 50% female. This team includes developers, design, product management and user research. We’re really proud of this progress.”
I am interested that this is deemed necessarily as “progress” and something necessarily to be “proud” of.
Best Regards
Michael Warren

@mw27818, I think a more correct statement in that case would be that they have recruited 50/50 men and women since Caroline joined the team, as the post stated. They’re not necessarily “recruiting 50/50 men and women”.

I do agree though that every blog post has made it sound like they are specifically trying to hire in a quota or to ensure the gender figures are balanced within the company.

Without more knowledge of the situation, I’d would however still suggest keeping an open mind that with advertising stronger to women and minority groups, the best candidates out of those interviewed were hired and they happened to be women, as @“Michael at Bulb” suggests.

We’re really proud of this progress.
I also take issue with this comment from the blog post. Progress is ensuring that there is equal opportunity and then hiring the right people without consideration of their gender.

Dear mowcius
Agreed, with all your comments
Michael Warren

The Weeds, my favourite podcast, had a nice episode addressing some of these issues https://soundcloud.com/vox-the-weeds/is-google-in-an-ideological

A point that Matt Yglesias (full disclosure: he’s my favourite blogger) makes is that discrimination in society against othered groups (including but not limited to women in the tech industry) is sufficiently heavy that unless a company takes action to counteract this discrimination, they will not access the best and brightest people possible.

TLDR: Our recruitment activities fall within the bounds of the equality act of 2010, which allows positive action to boost applications from underrepresented groups.

The Weeds, my favourite podcast
Darn. I'd just got down to fewer than 1000 podcasts to listen to. Now back to well over a thousand after adding that to the list!
allows positive action to boost applications from underrepresented groups.
That all sounds good, but I still think that the blogs could be worded better if that is indeed the situation.

Dear Andrew at Bulb
Have listened to the first 20 minutes of your recommended podcast.
I think the Damore memo was always intended to be a discussion document rather than a “manifesto”, and is very conciliatory in its presentation .
Also a little disappointed that one contributor seemed to say he was fired “… because he does not care about diversity…”. I’m fairly sure that Damore himself would say that he is.
If the points made in his Class Action Lawsuit (and at the moment ‘IF’ is the operative word), then the culture there comes across to me as a bit Stalinesque in nature.
Lastly my view is that there is no discrimination against women in Tech or any other part of industry, that if there is a gender pay gap it slightly favours women and that there is woefully little complaint from he equality ideologues about issues such as the 95/5 ratio of workplace deaths toward men.
All this is very interestingly presented in the famous (or infamous - take your pick) discussion between Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman - link below
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcjxSThD54
And a link to the Lawsuit, the first couple of dozen pages of which make fascinating reading:
https://www.scribd.com/document/368688363/James-Damore-vs-Google-Class-Action-Lawsuit#from_embed
Best regards
Michael Warren

Regarding workplace deaths, Bulb supports safer workplaces for all.

Regarding the gender pay gap – my interpretation of the research consensus is that the gender pay gap comes from:

1) A huge, life-long earnings penalty for being a young child’s primary caregiver. 2) A very inequitable distribution of that responsibility between men and women.

Regarding the gap between men and women in tech, I think you (@mw27818) should do some research into the importance of role models and social learning theory before stating as fact that no discrimination exists and then calling the discussion over. See https://www.ft.com/content/a0047854-1ae4-11e8-a748-5da7d696ccab and https://twitter.com/Thomas_S_Dee/status/971741239086260224