back to article Activist investors attempt to push through racial diversity probe at Salesforce

A group of activist investors is targeting Salesforce in an effort to force the SaaS CRM giant to become the subject of an independent investigation into its practices regarding racial equality. Tulipshare, a platform for activist investors, has forced the proposal onto the ballot of Salesforce's next Annual General Meeting. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I may be old and can't understand this modern race/gender compulsory quota, but wouldn't any sane employer try to employ the most suitable people, regardless of race/gender?

    I mean, if you're WASP but dumb as f..., you'd only get hired as a janitor**. Same for other colors/genders. But if you're suitable for the position I'm offering, why should I care about your race/gender? Why would I be forced to hire a dummy just because race/gender?

    ** or manager/marketing drone/HR

    1. Paul Kinsler

      wouldn't any sane employer ...

      Well, indeed. But why should one assume all employers are sane, unbiased, and without predjudice?

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: wouldn't any sane employer ...

        Agreed but also why should "diversity" (aka skin colour or genitalia) automatically mean a better performing company? It may do - I don't know, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the right person for the job may be more important.

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      The idea behind these initiatives is not to enforce quotas, and bring dumbasses in to your firm. Anyone trying to tell you that's what these initiatives want is pushing an agenda at you, and is trying to manipulate you.

      What these sorts of initiatives try to do is to minimise the effect of the biases that every single one of us has. Simple things can be done to have a big effect.

      Removing the names, ages, and pictures from resumes before they are given to the managers and staff to assess, means people have to focus on the actual experiences of the applicant. And perhaps you think that's being silly, but there have been numerous studies done (look online, a quick google search should find them), where one person has submitted the exact same resume but with different names (a white sounding name, and, for example, an arab name) to a job application. Despite having exactly the same credentials, the arab name will get an interview 50+% less often than the white name. It goes for other minority sounding names as well. Simply removing the names, ages and photos, removes the opportunity for the biases to be activated and means that only the candidates with the best resumes get interviews.

      Having multiple people involved in interviews can also help to remove biases as a single interviewer will naturally lean into their biases (even unconsciously). Multiple interviewers (preferably from different backgrounds) will have different biases and hopefully balance out and as such hire the best candidates regardless of bias.

      Judging potential employees based on actual experience and ability rather than on which university they have attended (or not attended, if they have come through some other way into the industry) is a better way of getting diversity, rather than relying on only taking people with degrees from an Ivy League university or who have studied one specific branch of engineering. A lot of people from minority backgrounds don't have the opportunities to go to the top end uni's or through the traditional routes but that does not mean they are worse candidates than those that have (often they are better as they have had to work harder to get to the same position). Recognising this, means you have a larger pool to take candidates from. But a lot of firms are stuck always hiring people from the same schools or same background and so are stuck hiring the same type of people all of the time, and miss out on getting the benefits of diversity.

      These are the things you're trying to achieve with these initiatives. Calling out a company for having low diversity is not about trying to force it to hire idiots just to balance a quota. It's about calling out a company for not putting into practice the simple things that allow a greater pool of people to be considered, filtered, and consequently chosen. The firms should still be choosing the best people, but no longer should the choices of people being hired, be limited by the biases in the people and processes doing the hiring...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I'm not sure why you were downvoted for being right.

        The biggest problem applicants have to overcome is the assumption of the hiring manager that the applicant wouldn't fit in as well as other applicants with their coworkers or clients.

        If you're an applicant, you can't disprove a negative.

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        I've downvoted you because 1) there have also been studies that showed when names/photos were removed from cvs LESS of the target demographic ended up being interviewed and 2) forget any desire for equality a large chunk of these organisations are pushing the agenda to make money for themselves not to help others.

    3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      I think I should be allowed multiple upvotes for "** or manager/marketing drone/HR"

    4. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

      It's not a quota, it is a metric. The two are different. The metric is an estimation of "if were are hiring and promoting in a fair way, then we'd expect our workforce to look like this in a few years. If it doesn't look like this by then, then we need to ask ourselves if we are getting better or worse in fairness and if the steps that we've taken are sensible".

      (I'm not saying anything about the specific metric that Salesforce chose, which to an outsider looks clunky at best).

      IT in the UK and US isn't a terribly diverse workforce and does suffer from (at best) wobbly HR practices. The readership of El Reg will mostly reflect those currently in the sector. The downvotes will often be because those who would face more competition from a wider candidate pool aren't keen on it. Some of them also fear/misinterpret efforts to hire people more friendly as "reverse discrimination".

  2. lglethal Silver badge

    How does this rate with the fact they claim to have been rated the most ethical place in the US to work? (as covered in a recent article in the Reg about them being sued by the Republican national committee to try and stop them handing data over to the committee investigating the capitol riots).

  3. Dr Scrum Master

    Division and Exclusion

    The new mafia that promises to denounce you to the Red Guards if you don't buy their snake oil.

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