The U.S. Supreme Court banned affirmative action in the college admissions process in June 2023, upending a tool that was used to diversify college campuses. But the court has set a precedent that doesn't just impact universities. Companies nationwide are worried about whether the Supreme Court will also ban affirmative action in their policies.
Affirmative action should have a place in hiring practices because without it, there wouldn’t be any definite measures to assure diversity in the workplace.
According to Vox, affirmative action is a program or policy used to promote equal employment opportunities and prevent discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin and disability.
Affirmative actions help diversify the workforce and make sure that everybody has an equal opportunity to be hired for a job.
A 2013 study from Harvard saw that the removal of affirmative action in hiring practices decreased employment by 7% among Hispanic men, 4% among Black men and 37% among Asian women in local and state government jobs.
“5% of the attorneys that are in the United States are African American,” George Rogers, a member of USC's National Black Law Students Association, said. “The fact that it's going to be more difficult now for people of color to get into law schools without affirmative action, that means it's going to be harder for them to become lawyers. It's going to be harder for them to go into that career path.”
According to Bloomberg Law, when affirmative action was banned in colleges in California in 1996, minority enrollment decreased by 50% immediately.
The court's ruling on college admissions limits opportunities for underrepresented groups and, in removing affirmative action in hiring practices, diversity in the workforce will further decrease. Without having these diverse forces, workplaces will be riddled with groupthink mentality without having any contributions from people with different perspectives.
“I think that affirmative action is necessary for ensuring that we have diversity not just in the way people look but also in diversity of thought,” Rogers said. “I think affirmative action is something that we need as a society to ensure that no voices are left behind.”
Diversity is important to bring in people who have a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and opinions so that workplaces can be more creative and efficient. With affirmative action helping to keep the workplace diverse, firms have access to a wider range of sources and experiences that allow them to make better strategic decisions.
According to Forbes, diverse companies are 35% more likely to receive better financial returns compared to non-diverse companies.
As companies aim to diversify itself through affirmative action, the environment also becomes more welcoming for minority employees. This results in employees that are happier and more loyal to the company.
“I definitely feel like it will benefit me in just knowing that these companies are trying to make a spot for me. And not just make a spot, but make sure that I feel comfortable,” Destinee Earl, president of the Black Business Student Association at USC, said. “And make sure that I feel like I have a place where I can express my ideas and express my opinion, and my voice.”
Affirmative action overall benefits companies and underrepresented groups in the workforce. By removing this practice when hiring people, companies would limit itself from growth and prevent so many people within minority groups from reaching their fullest potential in their respective fields. The result is a workplace that would not be desirable for anybody, regardless of race.