Affirmative action refers to the endeavours of human resource department to ensure equal employment opportunities for all individuals irrespective of their sex, religion, ethnicity, physical ability etc.
Affirmative action inhibits undue advantage to a particular group of people and presents fair employment opportunity to all sections of the qualified population.
Affirmative action has two main components:
It allows the employer to assess its current workforce composition and identify if any particular section (in terms of sex, religion, race, and ethnicity) of population is not sufficiently represented. It also helps to identify the loopholes in the existing recruitment policies.
These refer to the steps taken to ensure that a level playing field is available for all prospective job-seekers. It also contains formulation of policies, rules and regulation to bring equality and fairness in the employment process.
Besides, affirmative action also includes the internal auditing and reporting systems in their success of driving the company towards the status of ‘No workforce discrimination’.
e.g.) Every year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Examination to select bureaucrats. The proportion of women candidates appearing for the examination is significantly low. Hence to boost the participation of women candidates, the UPSC has exempted them from paying exam fees. This can be treated as an affirmative action.