Quotas: The Effectiveness in the Workplace


Companies are forced to follow a system of quotas to promote the rights of certain groups of people: women, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. Achieving inclusion and diversity in the workplace is a worthy goal for any employer, but the effectiveness of quotas can be challenged. Companies may choose to pay a fine rather than introduce quotas; they can be perceived as a limit on the employer’s obligations, stopping the further promotion of quota subjects.

Impact on Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

The introduction of workplace quotas should positively impact diversity and inclusion; however, negative consequences may occur. The positive effects of quotas include increasing career opportunities for discriminated social groups, increasing the well-being of disadvantaged people, and creating public stigmatization of discrimination. However, there are reverse negative effects: discrimination among colleagues, the perception of quotas as the maximum of the employer’s opportunities, and the lack of influence on corporate policy.

Increasing Opportunities

Quotas are aimed at combating discrimination in employment, which continues to exist. For discriminated populations, quotas may be the only employment opportunity. Quotas are a deterrent that legitimately ensures employers from turning down potential employees based on the personal bias (Leslie, 2019). Quotas make it possible for people with disabilities who are reluctant to be hired due to prejudices about their inefficient ability to work to get jobs.

Increasing the Well-being

Quotas are a chance to improve the well-being of discriminated groups of the population, providing an opportunity to earn for their own needs independently. Diversity quotas can work to protect the hiring process from those in an organization who may not believe in the importance of including diversity (Workplace Today Team, 2020). In addition, reducing discrimination and providing well-paid jobs positively affect the morale state of the oppressed groups of the population.

Public Stigmatization of Discrimination

Large companies can influence public opinion and form the right ideas. The approval of workers belonging to oppressed groups contributes to public opinion about the inadmissibility of discrimination (Whiting, 2021). If a large company positions itself as supporting diversity and inclusion, it can form the same opinion among its customers (Fine et al., 2020). In addition, the promotion of a tolerant environment will increase awareness of the existing problem.

Discrimination among Colleagues

A person hired under a quota faces discrimination from colleagues. Colleagues may reproach an employee for being hired solely because of belonging to an oppressed social group (Ip et al., 2020). From a person arranged according to a quota, more strenuous efforts are required to prove their compliance with the rest of the team. Thus, an initiative to combat discrimination may lead to even more severe discrimination.

The Ceiling of the Employer’s Opportunities

The introduction of quotas can be perceived as the full measure for the employer to help create a diverse and inclusive environment. Usually, when the quota policy is implemented, the employer’s activity in the fight against discrimination ends. No other support measures are taking place, and no measures are taken to introduce a quota worker, ensuring integration. To ensure the effectiveness of this strategy on the part of the employer, more efforts are required.

Lack of Influence on Corporate Policy

Companies may perceive the introduction of quotas as an unpleasant obligation on the part of the state; quotas do not affect the company’s internal policy in any way. Ultimately, it is impossible to achieve diversity without changing the corporate culture; companies must work to keep quotas higher up the corporate ladder (Cantor, 2020). A much deeper level of change is required than the superficial adherence to measures to support the oppressed populations.


The quota policy is an excellent initiative to create a diverse and inclusive workplace environment; however, companies often perceive it as a necessary formality. First, the persistence of discrimination within the team testifies to the lack of efficiency. Secondly, the quota policy does not affect the company’s policy, remaining a necessity and not becoming a growth point. There is no particular approach that all businesses can take to ensure the benefits of equity and diversity (Department for Business Innovation & Skills, 2013). More profound business action is needed to support vulnerable populations.

Options for Creating a Diverse Workforce


Staff training allows employees to understand the impact of diversity on the company and society and the importance of professional development. People use the word “diverse” as a general term when referring to people of different races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, genders or disabilities without understanding its true meaning (Ravishankar, 2021). If the employees lead a diverse and inclusive workplace, the company needs to implement learning initiatives. Accenture, for example, is distinguished by its diversity and inclusion in its corporate structure (Accenture.com, 2019). Three-part professional development program trains managers in the finer points of managing diverse teams and highlights the benefits of working in diverse environments.

Changes in the recruitment process

Tolerant approaches to workforce creation must begin with changes to the recruitment process. Using neutral terms and avoiding gender descriptors will widen the pool of candidates and help build a good reputation (Provasi and Harasheh, 2021). Another way to encourage diversity is to use job descriptions to signal the commitment to diversity. Posting a statement of diversity initiatives in a prominent place guarantee that, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or disability, anyone who fits the job description will get a job.

Flexible Schedule

Long-established social norms put people at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. For example, single parents will have to choose between childcare and work, especially if the only available job is far from home (Institute of Directors, 2021). Flexible working arrangements, such as flexible working hours and telecommuting options, can go a long way in bridging these differences. The possibility of remote work opens up the job market for people who would otherwise hesitate or choose not to apply.

Options for Creating an Inclusive Workplace

Inclusive Leadership

Leaders need a safe team environment where the employees can be heard and feel valued. They should consider employee input, promote collaboration between different employees, ask questions of all team members, foster constructive arguments, provide actionable feedback, and act on advice from different employees. The initiative’s implementation requires competent management to evaluate its effectiveness (Mullins, 2016). Leaders can make disadvantaged workers feel valued and included by prioritizing authenticity over conformity and understanding that a range of communication styles can succeed in the workplace.

Sponsorship Programs

Employers need to ensure that the successful integration of new employees into the team is accessible. Corporations like American Express have created programs that accelerate progress in integrating women and people of color into the workforce by pairing them with more experienced sponsors to help them settle in over the long haul (Americanexpress.com, 2018). Employees will feel more confident and safer with the support of sponsorship.


Thus, quotas can provide an inclusive environment and create a diverse workforce, but the introduction of quotas alone is not enough. Employees can still face discrimination and devaluation from colleagues. To prevent adverse effects, employers should change the company’s policy. The new measures should educate the employees, create inclusive leadership and sponsorship programs, change the hiring process, and provide flexible working hours. Effective anti-discrimination measures will improve the reputation of the company and the performance of employees.


Accenture.com. (2019). Inclusion starts with I. Accenture. Web.

Americanexpress.com. (2018). Global diversity and inclusion. American Express. Web.

Cantor, E. (2020). Quotas are a diversity quick-fix, but companies must dig deeper. World economic Forum. Web.

Department for Business Innovation & Skills. (2013). The Business Case for Equality and Diversity. Government Equality Office.

Fine, C., Monzon, V. and Lawford-Smith, H. (2020). Why Does Workplace Gender Diversity Matter? Justice, Organizational Benefits, and Policy. Social Issues and Policy Review, 14 (1), pp.36-72.

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Ip, E., Leibbrandt, A. and Vecci, J. (2020). How do gender quotas affect workplace relationships? Complementary evidence from a representative survey and labor market experiments. Management Science, 66(2), pp.805-822.

Leslie, L.M. (2019). Diversity initiative effectiveness: A typological theory of unintended consequences. Academy of Management Review, 44(3), pp.538-563.

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Whiting, V. (2021). Review of Research Literature that Provides Evidence of the Impact of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace. Financial Conduct Authority.

Workplace Today Team. (2020). Diversity Quotas: Are they key to a more inclusive workplace? Workplace Today. Web.

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