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FAQs Regarding Affirmative Action Requirements and Goals

Why does UA have an affirmative action program?

As a federal contractor, UA is required to identify job groups where women and minorities are underutilized, establish affirmative action goals for those job groups, and make good faith efforts to achieve those goals. Good faith efforts to employ and advance protected veterans and persons with disabilities are also required, and recent regulations have established benchmark goals for hiring these individuals. The hiring benchmark for protected veterans is generally calculated annually based on the percentage of veterans in the national civilian workforce, while federal regulations have established a 7% utilization goal in each job group for qualified individuals with disabilities.

How is underutilization determined?

Existing UA workforce data, census data, and faculty availability data are analyzed. For each job group, we determine if the number of qualified women and minorities in the labor market (availability) is significantly higher than the number of women and minorities in the University’s current workforce (utilization). A job group is composed of positions that are similar with regard to their content, pay range, and opportunities. If there is a significant disparity between availability and utilization in a job group, placement goals are established for that group.

Are affirmative action goals the same as quotas or preferences?

No, it is illegal to use quotas in employment decisions. A goal does not reserve a place for or require that preference be given to a particular type of candidate. Affirmative action is intended to ensure that no qualified candidate of any group is excluded from the pool of applicants being considered. Goals are simply placement objectives that UA works toward by making good faith efforts to achieve broader representation in job groups where there is underutilization of females and/or minorities. Such efforts generally take place during the recruitment process and are designed to attract a diversity of qualified candidates into the applicant pool and to remove any barriers in the selection process that may affect equal employment opportunities.

How do goals affect the hiring and promotion processes?

The first step is to determine if an affirmative action goal exists for an open position. The Division of Human Resources (HR) will advise your department of this. If a goal exists, the department is expected to participate in outreach activities (such as advertising in specialty publications and making other targeted recruitment efforts) to attract diverse, qualified applicants and should inform HR of these efforts. The selection committee should seek to interview a diverse pool of qualified candidates. The department should also maintain interview records that document the hiring decision and ensure that the disposition of all applicants is properly and promptly recorded in UACareers.

If there is no goal for a position, can the selection committee hire whomever it wants? Do we have to interview more than one candidate?

UA is required to provide equal opportunity for all openings. Therefore, all qualified applicants should be considered, and selections should be nondiscriminatory and made based on qualifications. Best practice is to interview more than one candidate. This demonstrates that the department has taken reasonable efforts to find and select the most qualified person for the position using equitable and nondiscriminatory processes.