Over the past several years, companies big and small have been making public their efforts to improve DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives. As detailed by Glassdoor, many companies have made the connection that DEI is not only good for society, but also good for business.

However, in recent months there has been a buzz around what some are terming “reverse discrimination” in hiring, wherein companies are passing over members of racial and gender majorities in service of meeting DEI benchmarks. And with the Supreme Court again hearing arguments against affirmative action, these same issues continue to be debated across multiple realms.

To find out how many believe “reverse discrimination” is really an issue affecting their workplace, in November ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 hiring managers across the U.S.

Key findings include:

  • 52% believe their company practices “reverse discrimination” in hiring
  • 1 in 6 have been asked to deprioritize hiring white men
  • 48% have been asked to prioritize diversity over qualifications
  • 53% believe their job will be in danger if they don’t hire enough diverse employees
  • 70% believe their company has DEI initiatives for appearances’ sake

52% of Hiring Managers Believe Their Company Practices “Reverse Discrimination” in Hiring

More than half of hiring managers whose companies have DEI initiatives in place ‘somewhat’ (29%) or ‘strongly’ (24%) believe their company practices “reverse discrimination” when it comes to hiring.

Additionally, 48% say they have been told to prioritize diversity over qualifications when considering an applicant.

“In this evolving and competitive workplace, companies are having to respond to the demands of workers, which includes modifying their hiring practices,” commented career expert Stacie Haller.

“With all of the rapid changes organizations need to meet, it’s mostly middle management that implements the policies, and with many organizations, the support and tools provided to them are not there yet, especially when it comes to DEI” she continued.

1 in 6 Have Been Told to Deprioritize Hiring White Men

Sixteen percent of hiring managers surveyed say they have been told to deprioritize white men when evaluating candidates, and 14% have been told to deprioritize hiring white women. This is a consistent finding with past reports of “reverse discrimination”.

For example, according to Bloomberg “A lawsuit claims former Google and YouTube recruiter Arne Wilberg was unlawfully fired because he didn’t reject white and Asian male job candidates, which he said the company pressured him and other recruits to do for diversity purposes.”

“Hiring practices regarding diversity are also evolving and workers will notice if companies are treating these practices as simply the means of getting to the desired end,” advised Haller.

53% Believe They Could Be Fired if They Don’t Hire Enough Diverse Employees

More than half of hiring managers ‘somewhat’ (28%) or ‘strongly’ (25%) believe that their job will be in danger if they don’t make enough diverse hires.

Fifty-nine percent say they feel ‘some’ (39%) or ‘a lot’ (20%) of pressure to hire diverse candidates. Forty-seven percent of this group say this pressure comes from company higher-ups and 45% from their boss. Additionally, 35% say they feel pressure from customers and 31% from co-workers.

70% Believe Their Company Has DEI Initiatives in Place for Appearances’ Sake

The good news is that the vast majority of hiring managers ‘somewhat’ (30%) or ‘strongly’ (67%) believe their company has overall good intentions when it comes to DEI initiatives.

The majority also ‘somewhat’ (35%) or ‘strongly’ (60%) believe that their company has been overall improved by having DEI initiatives and 87% say their company has successfully hired more diverse employees due to these programs.

However, nearly one-third (31%) also say their company has not consulted a DEI expert, and 70% ‘somewhat’ (32%) or ‘strongly’ (38%) believe that the company has DEI initiatives in place for appearances’ sake.

While DEI initiatives have been shown to create more positive workplaces and offer great ROI, companies need to make sure they are approaching these initiatives with the right framework in mind and not just hopping on the bandwagon for appearances’ sake.

“While the efforts to overcome inequality in hiring diverse populations continue to evolve, companies need to consider all aspects and the effects of these practices on their entire population and move carefully and thoughtfully,” Haller finished.


This survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on November 2, 2022. In total, 1,000 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were age 18 or older, currently employed for wages or self-employed, and manage at least 25% of the hiring at their workplace. For full survey results, please contact [email protected].