There has been much written in recent times about when diversity goes wrong. We have all seen high-profile cases of exploitation where people seeking to go about their work were treated with a lack of respect or even criminally.

For a couple of years now, SACS has been providing users of our psychological assessment tools to measure Attitudes Towards Diversity, where recruiters have been able to assess the attitudes of prospective hires to women and people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. People who assess candidates with these measures are often surprised at how commonly prospective candidates profile high in negative attitudes, suggesting a tendency to racism or sexism.

We have just completed a major piece of research on this topic and we are working with Dr Jeromy Anglim from Deakin University to analyse and report the results. We will be seeking publication in the scientific journals on this crucial topic.

We will also be offering two new assessment tools, designed to measure people’s attitudes to disability and age. Many of our clients are in sectors where it is crucial for people to be tolerant so this will help them to be comfortable that a prospective hire has no negative attitudes in respect of gender, ethnicity, age or disability.

The early analysis of the recent study shows some very interesting results. You will see a number of articles over the next six months on our findings, but it is fair to say that when a person is intolerant in one respect, say to women, then it is much more likely that they will be intolerant in other respects, perhaps racially.

We also discovered that there are some basic characteristics such as personality and IQ that predict whether a person is likely to be tolerant or not. Personality and cognitive ability do not change much over the course of a person’s life and are known to have a strong genetic component, which suggests that intolerance might be quite enduring and therefore hard to change.

Not surprisingly, we also found that a person’s values contribute to their level of tolerance. Unlike personality and cognitive ability, a person’s values are largely learned, which is the “nurture” part of tolerance or intolerance.

All of this means that recruitment practices such as contemporary forms of psychological assessment can make a big contribution to creating a highly diversity-friendly workforce.

Here’s what you need to know on how to assess these characteristics.

Andrew Marty
Managing Director
SACS Consulting