In 2014, Google Senior Vice President Laszlo Bock wrote an article on Google’s diversity “issue:” https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/getting-to-work-on-diversity-at-google.html
Bock noted in his article that 70 percent of Google’s employees were men, 61 percent of its total workforce were white, another 30 percent were Asian, three percent were Hispanic and two percent were African American.
If we took a look at the auction industry in the United States, comparable numbers here in 2017 might be 90 percent men and 95 percent white, with very small percentages who are black, Hispanic, Asian, female, liberal-politically and/or not-Christian …
In other words, the typical auctioneer in the United States is a white male Christian who is conservative-politically; and what is typical in the auctioneer industry is widespread. It should be no surprise that members of the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) somewhat mirror these industry numbers.
I just watched a video the other day (referenced here: https://theafricanamericanathlete.com/2017/04/15/judge-mistaking-black-attorney-for-defendant-exposes-larger-issues/) where a black attorney was presumed to be the defendant in a courtroom — admonished by the judge for sitting in the court without his attorney …
People unfortunately make assumptions about other people based upon their race, color, gender, national origin — formed by their prior experiences. If a judge has seen only white attorneys for 30 years in his courtroom, why wouldn’t he presume a black man was not an attorney?
Yet, this judge should be looking at life outside of his courtroom — as nearly 14 percent of attorneys in the United States are black; still a substantial minority. In regard to the auction industry, if those aspiring to become auctioneers see almost exclusively white men, do they think they have to be a white man to become one — or, if they are not, they can’t be?
Diversity in everyday life takes years, decades, even centuries to change (improve) on its own. Almost without exception, it takes some form of affirmative action to force more diversity so that people are exposed to the merits of such and/or the injustice of life without it. Essentially, once a society is required to see the worthiness of diversity, it’s usually embraced.
This is where the NAA can make a difference in a similar fashion. By enlisting non-white-male member auctioneers to reach out to schools, clubs and other preadult social organizations, those yet to enter college or the workforce will be able to clearly see that non-white-men are — and can be — auctioneers. Advertising campaigns and other promotions should display a notable percentage of non-white-male auctioneers.
As well, NAA as an organization (its officers and directors for sure) should continue to stay away from political, religious and other conversations which tend to suggest anyone disagreeing (anyone who is different) is a dunce. We will continue to find it difficult to attract non-white-Christian-Republican-men if we keep inferring that demographic is a requirement for membership.
The United States Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, so far as race/color, the United States will be 46 percent white, 30 percent Hispanic, 15 percent black and 10 percent Asian. Certainly long-term there will be more women, non-white, non-Christian, non-Republican auctioneers in the United States.
The auctioneer community at large will have little choice but to sit back and wait, but the NAA can and should lead an effort to make our membership more dissimilar — opening our services to a wider marketplace and preparing us for our nation’s changing demographic.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.