Employee Equity vs Equality in Business

Employee Equity vs Equality in Business

Employee Equity vs Equality in Business

In employment equity, what is Equity vs Equality?


Equality and equity are very similar but very different, where equality refers to things being equal. In other words, the one is the same as the other. It, therefore, means that one person is equal to another.


However, equity refers to fairness. In the context of employment equity, the organisation can consider equity as the support provided to one person but not the other to eventually create equality, in other words, for them to be equal.


The reasoning for policies that promote equity in the workplace is to provide disenfranchised people with the tools, resources and opportunities to advance to a stage where they can then be equal to others.




The book Freakonomics showed that the children of criminals, prostitutes and drug addicts with little or no resources grew up and followed the same path as their parents, often leading to a life of crime and despair. In contrast, children growing up in a resource-rich environment with stable relationships and opportunities will become successful and valuable citizens of society.


The British National Bureau of Economic Research found a substantial grandparent effect on intergenerational economic mobility, where children from more wealthy families will outperform children from disadvantaged families, with the disparity in wealth or poverty increasing in every generation. Therefore, it is imperative to address the issue of poverty and underprivileged employees if we are to stop and reverse the impact of poverty on the population.


South Africa must achieve equality in the workplace by providing disenfranchised employees with the necessary tools, resources and support to become equal to their colleagues. However, it does not mean that the organisation must remove resources and support from employees who are in the process of uplifting themselves. However, extra measures and resources must be made available to previously disadvantaged employees to enable them to advance.


Equity vs Equality Limited Resources


Most organisations have limited resources available for developing employees, and the organisation must perform an analysis to determine which disadvantaged employees will benefit most from utilising the scarce resources.


The organisation needs to evaluate every disadvantaged employee individually to determine what the employee requires to advance and develop a pathway for the employee to achieve equality. In several cases, we found that even though the resources, tools and support were available to disadvantaged employees, they often did not want to advance themselves, making it increasingly difficult for the employer to provide help to the individual, in which case the organisation will have to discontinue the upliftment processes and reallocate the resources to another person.


Research & Analysis


By utilising psychometric analysis and other human resources tools and processes, the organisation will determine which individuals would make the best candidates for development without discriminating against other employees. It would be unfair discrimination if the organisation forced all disenfranchised employees to follow the same development path, knowing full well that a certain number of the employees will be unable to complete the training or development because of their aptitude, skills and capabilities.


Developing employees from disadvantaged backgrounds will eventually lead to all employees being equal. Development has a direct social impact on the employee in both work and home environments. To comply with the Employment Equity Act, organisations must implement specific affirmative action measures, processes and procedures to allow previously disadvantaged employees to advance to equality.


Implementation of Equity vs Equality


Before the organisation can implement affirmative action measures, it needs to have an action plan for implementing affirmative action. The organisation must do a complete and detailed analysis of the available resources, employees’ requirements, and the time frame in which the organisation can successfully implement affirmative action.


That is why the organisation needs to appoint an employment equity forum to perform the analysis required to allocate resources to specific people in the organisation. This goes far beyond what the Employment Equity Act requires of the organisation but makes financial sense for the organisation.


Find more information on how to implement employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enrol for the next employment equity training course.

Are you having difficulty with employment equity?

Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

By Stephan du Toit

Senior Advisor Employment Equity.

Website: employmentequity.co.za

eMail: info@employmentequity.co.za

WhatsApp +27825613022

Landline: +27212505007


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Stephan du Toit

Stephan du Toit

Senior Advisor Employment Equity. Specialist in emergency Employment Equity and Labour compliance for organisations. Find more information on implementing employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enroll for the next employment equity training course.

Are you having difficulty with employment equity? Please don't hesitate to contact me.

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