Affirmative action involves the steps taken by employers to recruit underrepresented groups like women, people with disability, minorities, and veterans into the workforce. It has been continuously adopted by governments to in response to the pressure felt that is experienced from human rights organizations. It is intended for ensuring that opportunities are equitably distributed. It involves reaching out for specific people and training them if necessary to get them working if necessary. The strategy should be well documented to ensure compliance with equality laws. While affirmative action is designed to ensure equality, it has some weaknesses that make it unnecessary in the current day and time (Holzer, and Neumark 483).
First, affirmative action sometimes requires the recruitment committee to overlook qualification in favor of those who meet affirmative action criterions. While affirmative action employees are often qualified, they are sometimes not the most qualified. In that case, the company risks high turnover if the applicant turns out to be uncompetitive and is replaced. By the time action is taken against underperforming individuals in a company, they usually have used up company resources in the form of training, uniforms, office allocation and company working equipment. The staff member sometimes also leads to wastage of resources as he tries to catch up with the rest of the workforce. Their removal always comes too late and their replacement brings with it similar risks.
Second, affirmative action also promotes reverse discrimination. While it is tailored to combat issues of discrimination of minority groups, the majority groups may rightfully feel that it is the preferential treatment of the minority groups and the discrimination of the majorities. Affirmative action therefore, is a reverse form of discrimination which places the historic majority in a class of their own. It could be argued that poor majority white male student who has done his best to get amongst the best in his disciplines gets passed over by a rich minority student who has not worked hard at all. The policy is created to combat cases of discrimination but may end up doing the exact opposite. It makes the majority groups, who are more and should therefor occupy a bigger percentage of positions in the job market, feel discriminated against (Holzer, and Neumark 483).
Third, affirmative action discourages minorities from working hard enough. Minority students may feel it is unnecessary for them to work harder while there happens to be policies that require them to be allocated jobs preferentially. A minority student who can attend a university with a minimal grade sees no need to achieve anything higher than that. A majority student, on the other hand, must work extremely hard to get to what is required for the majority students. For the minority students need only acquire minimum qualifications. They therefore mostly concentrate on achieving the minimum qualification as it is easier for them to get employed. Although some students and employees are self-motivated, others need a push to do their best. Setting standards of admission lower for hiring lowers the level of responsibility. Hard work, achievement and discipline should be rewarded and not reward students and employees on the basis of their gender, race or weakness and vice versa (Coate, and Loury 1220).
Fourth, affirmative action promotes stigmatization. At the workplace, other workers and even customers may question the competence of the minority groups. They may argue that the minorities were not employed with regard to their qualification but instead on their belonging to a certain sex or gender. Even the completely qualified student among the minority may still suffer the blunt of stigmatization. This is because there is no line between those employed on merit and those employed with regard to affirmative action. The minorities are, therefore, unable to deliver their full potential (Coate, and Loury 1220).
Finally, affirmative action is not all inclusive. Often, all individuals have their own weaknesses. Selecting certain measures to dish out jobs to people other than qualification leaves some people out. There are people who are disadvantaged by disease, others by poverty and others by being orphans. Applying affirmative action to only a few criteria and leaving others is discriminative in nature. It discriminates against those who are disadvantaged by certain issues and favors others. If it is to be entertained, affirmative action should only be encouraged if it covers all classes of those disadvantaged. It should also work in terms of the percentage composition of the minorities in a community to avoid bias (Coate, and Loury 1220).
The disadvantages of affirmative action are very many they cannot be exhausted. Every organization has opportunities that can be occupied by people with all manners of disadvantages. However, every person should be involved in the competitive process to ensure that job and education vacancies are acquire only on grounds of merit. This way, companies are going to reap maximum benefit and thereby lead to higher level of economic growth. Governments should also encourage responsibility and hard work through the removal or limitation of affirmative action to extreme cases. Alternatively, the government should encourage the disadvantaged to start their own businesses ventures and contribute in creation of employment opportunities. This way, they will cease to be a liability to organizations and instead participate in growth. Discouraging affirmative action will also reduce the level of discrimination and stigmatization against the minorities. This will come as a result of them being viewed as a hard working group rather than a cause of misery for other people in the society. They will also participate more in self-development and hence become a source of a reliable source of labor (Coate, and Loury 1220).
In conclusion, governments are increasingly seeing affirmative action as the way forward towards the creation of jobs for the minorities. They have also seen it as a way to increase their independence by increasing the number of positions available to them exclusively. Political positions are also increasingly being influenced through affirmative action. This, however, has been shown to be unproductive and to result to the exact opposite of what it is intended to fight discrimination. It is therefore necessary for the government to encourage the minorities to participate in job creation and competitive employment among all people. This way, qualified people from among the minorities will get employed while organizations will only employ the best in their fields and thereby increase their productivity. This will also encourage the minorities to increase their value to be more viable in the job market hence creating a more reliable work force. Affirmative action is a policy of the past. It should be discouraged by all means possible to ensure that all employees and students get equal consideration in schools and in the workforce.
Coate, Stephen, and Glenn C. Loury. “Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?.” American Economic Review 83.5 (1993): 1220. Business Source Complete. Web. 6 June 2014 Holzer, Harry, and David Neumark. “Assessing Affirmative Action.” Journal Of Economic Literature 38.3 (2000): 483. Business Source Complete. Web. 6 June 2014
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