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Anton Botha - Beyond assessments: the law of large numbers and structural differences in diverse talent pools. A global perspective.

  • Wasserman Center 133 East 13th Street New York, NY, 10003 United States (map)

Please join us for the December meeting of Metro. On Thursday, December 13th, Anton I. Botha, Senior Industrial Psychologist, United Nations Secretariat, through a partnership with SIOP United Nations Committee, will be speaking about assessments through a global perspective. This session will be kicked off with an introduction and overview of the SIOP UN Committee by Nabila Sheikh, SIOP United Nations Committee Member.

Presentation Description:

There are essentially two types of assessments used in talent selection. The first are the more traditional ‘backward-looking’ assessments which rely on measures of past behavior (e.g. qualifications and/or experience) as predictors of future performance. The second form of assessments are ‘forward-looking’ and rely on the measurement of psychological constructs (e.g. cognitive ability, personality, etc.) as indicators of potential future performance.

However, the outcomes of both approaches are heavily influenced by structural inequalities that exist within society at both a national and global level. Using data gathered on both forms of assessments used at the United Nations, this talk aims to show that both backward-and-forward-looking assessments will produce subgroup differences, not because of bias in the instruments themselves, but because of the manifestation of structural differences over large numbers. It concludes by arguing that the manipulation of selection tools to lesson subgroup difference only harms the validity of these instruments, and that for the diversity question to be addressed, proactive political measures are necessary.

Speaker Bio:

Anton Ivan Botha works as a Senior Industrial Psychologist for the United Nations Secretariat in New York and is primarily responsible for the development of global talent selection systems. Born in South Africa (SA), he is a recipient of the Mandela Rhodes (2008), the Trent Lott (2009), Fulbright (2011), and Leverhulm (2018) scholarships. He has three Bachelor’s degrees (in psychology, business, and philosophy) as well as two Master’s degrees in psychology and industrial psychology from the Nelson Mandela University in SA and Montclair State University in the US. He taught at universities in SA, US, and Germany in fields as diverse as psychology, human resources, research methods, and finance. Prior to working in academia, he was employed by the Lord Chancellor’s Department as an IT Network Architect in the United Kingdom and has consulted widely in the private sector, including for Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola.