Meritocracy is Opportunity and Diversity

Gender or race inequality in an organisation is a symptom of cronyism. An equal number of women and men in an organisation does not demonstrate equal opportunity. Forcing more women or other minorities into leadership roles does not resolve a lack of diversity. 


Cronyism is not men giving jobs to men. Cronyism is the hiring of who knows who without due process. It applies equally to men, women, races, sexuality and nationalities. Cronyism is appointing friends and associates to positions without merit.

For example, an organisation with leadership from a specific nationality will have people of the same nation in management and other roles. An organisation that does not have a merit-based selection and recruitment system is likely to have an employee majority from a specific nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Leaders and managers will recruit people they associate with if the organisation permits hiring without due process. Such cronyism applies to gender, race, religion and sexuality. 

In an organisation, cronyism is rarely malicious. It is a symptom of the absence of, or poorly established, implemented and maintained selection and recruitment policies and procedures. Although organisations may have optimal recruitment protocols, they will not be effective if there is no system to ensure compliance with relevant policies and procedures.

Selection and Recruitment

When an organisation has established, implemented and maintains optimal selection and recruitment policies, procedures and culture, there is minimal scope for cronyism and inequality. When such an organisation recruits, it advertises vacancies with a predetermined selection criterion and remuneration structure. Broad advertising attracts internal and external applicants. Then the selection criterion locks in the type of employee the organisation want to recruit. Once applications are received, applicants are shortlisted based on the selection criteria. After applicants are shortlisted, they are interviewed and re-interviewed in some cases. Then the applicants will be selected based on the best match to the selection criterion and references. 

Often for some roles, there will be fewer or no female applicants. Such situations make achieving a perception of equality difficult or impossible. A lack of female applicants may be because women have no interest in the particular industry. It does not mean there is discrimination. It simply means women generally have no interest in some professions. It is a proven scientific fact that also applies to men.

When an unbiased and blind recruiting process is in place, but fewer women apply, or there is no suitable female applicant, it may result in an imbalance in gender leadership roles in an organisation. Such circumstances do not demonstrate discrimination.

A merit-based recruitment process ensures the most suitable applicants are selected. It prevents recruiting to fill gender, race or sexuality quotas. Filling roles to meet gender, race or sexuality quotas is a terrible, discriminatory practice. Such policies defeat what they are trying to achieve. Selecting employees to meet quotas prevents the organisation from recruiting the best-suited employees and result in hiring people that are often unqualified and inexperienced for the role. Furthermore, a person’s sexuality should never play any role in recruitment. It sets up workers to fail and results in poor performance of the organisation.

Objectives and Targets

Another issue organisations have with diversity in leadership roles is misleading objectives and targets. Organisations will typically want to achieve greater gender diversity in leadership roles. Such an objective becomes an issue when a target, for example, of 40% of women in leadership roles. This target will create performance problems previously mentioned and does not provide a clear plan for achieving the objective.

To achieve diversity objectives, organisations must set targets that do not cause detriment to the organisation. For example, setting a target to externally advertise 95% of vacancies and 100% compliance with selection and recruitment procedures will achieve natural results that do not cause unintended consequences. These targets do not force the organisation to focus on hiring women to meet quotas without consideration for qualifications and experience. The objectives and targets that focus on improving the selection, recruitment and promotion process guide the organisation to select, recruit and promote based on merit.


Selecting and recruiting workers based on sexual orientation is absurd and idiotic, yet it is a reality in almost every corporation submitting to popular sentiment. Recruiting based on sexuality is the pinnacle of discrimination that violates sex discrimination laws and does nothing to contribute to the performance of an organisation and its workforce in any way. It is purely a virtue signalling exercise that does not deserve any more of anyone’s thought.


Organisations that do not have a culture and protocols of recruiting based on merit will have the appearance of discrimination or genuine discrimination through cronyism. Organisations with functioning selection and recruitment policies, procedures and culture will have a meritocracy and provide equal opportunity but may not have a diverse workforce. 

Trying to achieve diversity by selecting based on gender, race or sexuality to fulfil a diversity quota is discrimination regardless of how woke an organisation thinks it is. The only way to prevent discrimination and provide equal opportunity is through genuine meritocracy.


June 16, 2016