Every country and society has its share of neglected, underprivileged or minority populace. The discrimination could be racial or ethnic, social, cultural or purely economic. To uplift those neglected and less privileged, many governments of the world have tried to exercise affirmative action. By the virtue of affirmative action, the neglected, less educated, economically backward and minority sections of the citizenry would be inducted into schools and workplaces so they can benefit from the larger progress of the society. Affirmative action is not perfect. There are some advantages and disadvantages.
List of Pros of Affirmative Action in the Workplace
1. Affirmative action tries to establish equality in a society that still remains rather discriminatory.
Slavery may have been abolished. Everyone may be equal in the eyes of law and have the same fundamental rights, same benefits from the state and same duties. Yet, there is racial, religious, educational and socioeconomic discrimination. If despite having affirmative action in the workplace such discriminations still exist, imagine what kind of discrimination would take its place is affirmative action was to be revoked.
2. Affirmative action brings in diversity.
We do not live in a world where societies with different cultures, religious or economic differences are isolated from one another. Diversity already exists amongst us and it is necessary that the same diversity is embraced and that it finds its rightful presence in our workplace.
3. Many sections of our society have been neglected in the past.
They deserve a helping hand. They also need a helping hand to emerge from the abyss that they did not create for themselves. The society at large needs to play a constructive role and affirmative action in the workplace certainly does its bit.
4. A diverse workforce brings in various talents.
Affirmative action can also help a company because having people from various socioeconomic, religious and cultural backgrounds help the organization to become more efficient. There will be diverse views. Conflicting opinions, different ideas and unique approaches always augur well for enterprises.
List of Cons of Affirmative Action in the Workplace
1. Affirmative action in workplace in some cases is limiting.
It stunts the growth of enterprises that could have done better if only talent was the criterion deciding on hiring. A compulsion to maintain diversity can be detrimental for a company.
2. Affirmative action may be discouraging for many who would otherwise benefit if diversity was not a prerequisite.
Diversity or empowerment of neglected sections of the society cannot be a reason to deny a deserving individual access to a job. In a way, those neglected get a head start.
3. Affirmative action in workplace is reverse prejudice.
In the United Kingdom, it is widely referred to as positive discrimination.