Tag Archives: hiring

Incentives for Hiring Immigrants – friend or foe?

16 Sep

Thanks to the politicians, the debate rages – is it a hand-out or is it increasing access? (and don’t get me started on the difference between “foreign workers” a la Tim Hudak and immigrants looking for work).

Listening to Q this morning on CBC, I heard an interesting interview with 2 successful business owners, who also happen to be immigrants to Canada. Because I was driving, I couldn’t write down their names and the podcast isn’t available yet – but I’ll attach it next time. Both guests had different perspectives, but both agreed that any program must focus on helping new immigrants get their first job in their field.

Where they differed greatly was on whether business incentives were reducing barriers or giving an unfair advantage. What it came down to was stigma versus equity. One perspective suggested being seen as having been given the job because of the incentive only (which was referred to as a quota system); the other suggested the incentive was acknowledging and reducing the barriers that immigrants face in being able to work in their field.

I can see both sides of the arguement – what it comes down to, for me, is how any program is set up.

Quotas for the sake of quotas are a bad idea. Always. They breed resentment and can compromise the quality of work. But leveling the playing field? That’s different. If you put a program in place (as one of the gentlemen suggested) that provides incentives for companies to hire qualified (that’s the key word) new immigrants for a first job in their field that they may otherwise not get for reasons of bias, discrimination, or just plain ignorance – well, that’s not a quota system to me. That is an effort to cut through the systemic discrimination that continues to take care of the dominant group, and keeps qualified people from work they can do well.

It’s amazing to me how quickly we bristle at the thought that the system, as it is now, may be unfair.

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion
www.beeing.ca

MBA Diversity

12 Sep

I have spent the past 4 days with hundreds of Schulich MBA students. A colleague of mine was running the team building program for them, and I was in charge of the diversity session.

It was a great experience, and I couldn’t help but notice the diversity (or in some cases, lack thereof) within the over 400 students (full and part time) that came through over the four days:

– culturally, the majority of students were of South Asian origin, followed by Asian

– about 80% of the students were male

– there was no one with a physical disability (that was evident, anyway)

– racially, the majority of the students were Brown (various shades of “people of colour”), followed by White and then Black

And here is where the numbers stood out the most for me. In a sea of different skin colours, the number of Black students was so low that I think I can actually remember the faces of each one. I think the final number was 9 (5 Black women and 4 Black men). That’s about 2%.

Yikes!

It reminds me of town hall meetings about high secondary school drop out rates (also known as “push out” rates) for kids of colour in Toronto. But not all of the Black students were local, or even Canadian…

Things that make you go “hmm….”

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker & facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion
www. beeing.ca

5 Ways to Increase the Number of Women in Senior Management

6 Sep

On the heels of last week’s interview with Anne Golden (CEO of the Conference Board of Canada) on CBC, here are 5 things Anne suggested companies need to do, to make a conscious effort to increase the number of women in senior management.  Anne made reference to these as steps CP Rail has taken in their effort (with success).

Of course, these are not specific to increasing the representation of women in senior roles…

Strategy
Making a more representative senior management team is not something that will happen on it’s own. It requires commitment and a strategy. Strategies suggest that something is important, and gives it more weight while obviously providing a road map for accomplishing the goal.

Tracking
Anne’s words in the interview were “what you inspect gets respect”. Making sure you know how you are doing vis à vis your goal is a crucial component in reaching it. And tracking your progress also keeps the issue on your radar.

Networking Across the Organization
The opportunity to talk with and learn from others – in this case other women in similar roles, or other women in higher roles – is helpful for personal and professional growth. Networks build support systems, can create opportunities, and at the very least let us know we are not alone.

Recruitment & Succession Planning
Make no mistake, this is not about quotas. But if you have a commitment to increasing the number of women in senior roles, you need a plan. This is an internal plan for the women you currently employ who are on the track to senior management, as well as a plan for your hiring process.

Experience / Training for Promotion
Further to the above, mentoring and providing training  & professional development for the women in your organization so that they have a fair chance of being promoted is key. This is not to say that promotion won’t happen without this, but given our national track record, it would seem that making sure female employees have as much in their professional toolkit as possible would help break through the obvious bias that exists.

Again, these steps can be applied to any group that is under-represented in your senior management. Take a look around and see who is missing.

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, professional speaker, and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion
www.beeing.ca

Hiring People with Disabilities

11 Aug

We continue to make strides in understanding the needs of, and increasing access for people with disabilities.  In Ontario, we have the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

But what does accessibility really mean?

While it may be easy to consider aspects of physical accessibility like ramps, automatically opening doors, etc., there are other aspects that we may not consider. The AODA lists 5 areas of accessibility. They are:

  • customer service
  • employment
  • information and communications
  • transportation
  • built environment

The first four have already been made into law, to reach the vision of an accessible Ontario by 2025. The fifth is being developed.

Employment isn’t often considered as an accessibility issue. But assumptions, stereotypes and misinformation create high barriers for people with disabilities – either physical or psychological – to be able to access work.

Creating an inclusive work environment challenges us to do things differently, and to consider alternate ways of getting the job done well. It also challenges us to examine how the way we see people can create barriers for hiring, placement and promotion.

It’s nice to see that some of the Fortune 500 companies are taking this on. Read about Proctor & Gamble’s recent foray into a more inclusive workplace – which includes hiring people with disabilities for the same jobs as their able-bodied peers.

See More.

Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
www.beeing.ca

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