All Posts Tagged With: "hiring"
Fifth of employers plan to add workers
Canadian employers expect the hiring climate to hold steady in the second quarter, dipping slightly from the previous quarter, according to an employment survey by Manpower Inc.
The poll of 1,900 employers from various sectors found that 20 per cent plan to hire workers in the three-month period from April to June.
Five per cent said they anticipate cutbacks to hiring, while 75 per cent said they will keep existing staffing levels.
Overall, the poll found that the net employment outlook was 12 per cent, a small decline of one percentage point from the first quarter of 2013.
I did fine without teachers who ‘looked’ exactly like me
An internal memo circulated earlier this week within the Toronto District School Board explicitly states: “The first round of TDSB interviews will be granted to teachers candidates that meet one or more of the following criteria in addition to being an outstanding teacher: Male, racial minority, French, Music, Aboriginal.”
Although the school board is taking the stance that the hiring criteria outlined above is not meant to actively exclude other groups, I can’t help but think that if I sent in a resume after graduating from York University’s education program this spring, as a female, I’d be rejected.
I’ve been constantly reminded that, as an Asian female, there are special scholarships available to me—that I enjoy a special kind of privilege offered to women of colour. A representative at a job fair stand once told me that if I ever considered applying for a position with the Toronto Police Service, I’d be a shoo-in. The TPS was running low on Asian female police officers—their words, not mine. Some would call this affirmative action. Others would cry reverse racism.
I say: why should any of this matter? Shouldn’t merit, skill and experience be what really counts?
Why you should learn math and move to Alberta
Want to know which industries are hiring Canadians? Better yet: want to know which industries are hiring and paying handsomely?
Look no further than the new Canadian Business report on Canada’s Best Jobs. It shows the 50 best occupations based on highest salaries, salary growth and recent upticks in employment.
The fastest-growing occupation—no surprise here—is petroleum engineering. The guys and gals who calculate how best to harvest bitumen from Alberta oil sands saw their numbers increase by 85 per cent between 2006 and 2011. They also took home fat pay-cheques: a median of $90,002.
Next on the list reflects the growth in health care spending (and attempts to rein it in). Nursing supervisors saw their numbers increase by 46 per cent while their pay grew 24 per cent to $74,880.
Study reminiscent of 1948 Maclean’s article by Pierre Berton
A new study has shown that Canadians with English-sounding names on their résumés get many more responses from employers than those with foreign-sounding names, even when applicants have identical qualifications and make it clear they can speak English or French proficiently.
Philip Oreopoulos and Diane Dechief of the University of Toronto found that of the 8,000 fake job applications they sent out, those with English-sounding names at the top were 47 per cent more likely to receive callbacks in Toronto than resumes with Greek, Indian or Chinese-sounding names. In Montreal, English names had a 39 per cent advantage. In Vancouver it was 20 per cent.
Oreopoulos told The Globe and Mail that subconcious discrimination may partially explain the difference. Another part of their study showed that human resources professionals cite concerns over language or social skills for the possible differences in their reactions—despite the fact that such skills can easily be determined with a simple phone call.
But annual hiring is still one-third lower than in 2007-08
The Modern Languages Association’s job board is North America’s dominant website for posting full-time professor jobs in English and foreign languages departments. That makes it a decent barometer for the two fields’ PhD job markets.
An analysis of this year’s listings shows that full-time job availability improved compared to the previous two devastating years—a period in which listings dropped 40 per cent. There were 8.2 per cent more English professor jobs posted in 2010-11 than in 2009-10. The number of foreign languages jobs was up too—7.1 per cent year-on-year. It’s a welcome improvement, but annual hiring is still one-third below its peak in 2007-08.
Professor Pettigrew proposes a commonsense alternative
Having served on many university hiring committees, I have always been mildly troubled by the term “visible minorities,” a term often seen in job ads.
So I was not entirely outraged when I learned that folks down at the UN are upset with how Canadians throw that term around.
Admittedly, it’s frustrating to see an anti-racist policy critiqued for supposedly racist language. Indeed, so many terms are politically charged that it’s hard to know what constitutes appropriate care and what constitutes politically-correct nitpicking. Is “cotton-pickin’” a racist term? Is “pork barrell“? Is “boy“?
Frustrating as it is, we shouldn’t dismiss such concerns. After all, many terms that seemed unobjectionable or even progressive in the past now seem awkward if not offensive. I remember wincing when my grandmother said “coloured” and wondering why she couldn’t say “black” like civilized people. Except that, now, civilized people are increasingly uncomfortable with “black.” I wouldn’t be surprised if my grandchildren find it hard to believe that anyone could ever have used a term so insensitive as “African Canadian.”
The knock against “visible minority” is that it arguably identifies white as the standard, normal way to be, and places non-white people in some lesser, “other” category. But isn’t the whole point of equitable hiring practices to acknowledge that white men really have been seen as the standard and that women and minorities have, for this reason, been unfairly disadvantaged? You can’t make the problem go away by getting rid of terms that identify the problem.
Some prefer a term like “racialized communities” but I’m not convinced it’s any better than what we have now. To my ear, it seems to imply that certain groups have had their ethnic or racial origins imposed upon them and that their identities are merely a mark of their oppression — rather than a heritage of which they can be proud. You’d be fine, if you hadn’t been racialized. It sounds wrong.
Still, “visible minority” leaves a lot to be desired. For one thing, what about invisible minorities? Jewish people have suffered through long periods of oppression, and anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past — but while there may be cultural cues that might indicate that a candidate is Jewish, I doubt most Jewish candidates would self-identify as a visible minority. What about gay applicants? They are part of a disadvantaged minority, but, again, not a visible one.
Still further, exactly how visible does one’s minority status have to be to be a member of a visible minority? I have met many Canadians who identify as Aboriginals, but whose physical characteristics are not stereotypically “native.” Are they still members of visible minorities? Is a blond aboriginal person less entitled to affirmative action than a dark-haired aboriginal person?
Perhaps it’s time to simply invite candidates to indicate, if they choose, whether they believe that elements of their identity have disadvantaged them in some way. Then, hiring committees could take those disadvantages into account during the vetting process. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least we could stop trying to come up with a term that includes certain people but not others while implying only positive things.
After all, even if we came up with such a term, it’s going to sound wrong twenty years from now.
Equity policies may have little impact.
Two things have put affirmative action on my mind lately. One is the Tory musings that the government might abandon the federal affirmative action policy. The other is that I am on a hiring committee at work.
My august institution has an affirmative action policy that seems, at least, in theory, fairly reasonable to me. In a nutshell, the policy says that well qualified members of visible minorities and well qualified women should at least get an interview — even if just on the phone or by video conference. Moreover, if it comes down to two more-or-less equally qualified candidates, the minority candidate or the woman should be preferred to the white man. Fair enough, I say, because the policy does not call for the less qualified to be hired over the more qualified — with all the potential pitfalls that can arise from there. And hey, all else equal, surely going for increased diversity is better than flipping a coin.
But does my university really need such a policy? And if we do, is it doing any good? I am doubtful on both counts.
Though university professors are far from perfect, they are, in my experience, more than usually aware of bias and more than usually broad minded. At the very least, they are intensely interested in seeming broad minded. Indeed, faced with a candidate who is a member of a visible minority, I suspect most university professors would make a point of being particularly open to the candidacy, if for no other reason than to allow themselves hearty self-congratulations later on.
The ethnic diversity of my university faculty colleagues seems to bear this out. Cape Breton is not, itself, particularly diverse, and it is not always easy to attract candidates who may feel out of place on a small, sparsely populated island where they are less likely to meet others with the same religion, linguistic backgrounds, or cultural traditions. Nevertheless, the university is far more culturally diverse than the surrounding community. I have colleagues from around the world and who follow a variety of religious traditions. The university is also one of the few places in Cape Breton where alternative sexualities can be openly discussed and displayed without fear of unwanted social consequences.
As for women, female faculty abound here, and not just in the arts, but in many science disciplines, too. The inequities that remain seem primarily a result of the fields that women choose to pursue — which may be a problem in itself, but not one likely to be helped much by affirmative action. I was on a Philosophy hiring committee once, and of the twenty-five applicants, only one was a woman. Why don’t women want to be philosophers? On the other hand, female candidates have always been taken seriously on the hiring committees that I have served on, and when it comes to continuing positions in my department, they have been evenly split between men and women — at least since I’ve been here.
Still, diversity in the ranks doesn’t proves the policy is unneeded. It could be a sign that the policy is working. But I doubt it. First of all, the affirmative action policy is trumped by Canadian law which privileges Canadian citizens and permanent residents; recent immigrants, who may often be minorities, are often neither and get pushed aside. Moreover, the policy does not cover every element of diversity, only visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and women. In other words, the policy does not help you if you are gay or of a minority cultural group that is not visibly different (as with Jewish people of European descent, for example).
More importantly, the policy only applies to you if you self-identify for the equity initiative. This makes a certain amount of sense, of course: you can’t necessarily recognize a member of a visible minority when you can’t see the candidate. And you really don’t want a committee trying to guess. In practice, however, surprisingly few candidates self-identify, especially women. I’m not quite sure why this is. Perhaps they feel that self-identifying makes them look weak in the eyes of the committee. Or, they may feel that they don’t want special treatment — that they want the job only if they are clearly the best candidate. So, if the job-seekers don’t want affirmative action, whose interests does it serve?
Finally, at the end of the process, the committee still chooses the best candidate. If that candidate is a member of a visible minority the policy was never needed; if she is not, the policy does not apply. In theory, the affirmative action policy might force a committee to consider a candidate they would have dismissed, only to find out he was great and hire him after all, but while I would welcome such an outcome, I have never seen it happen. Similarly, there could be a theoretical tie between two very good candidates, and the minority applicant would be chosen, but, again, while I would have no problem with that, I have never seen that happen either.
So while the current policy has little or no effect, a tougher policy would achieve more diversity only at the cost of fairness and academic quality. And how much more diverse than the surrounding community does the university need to be? But who knows, maybe this hiring committee will be the one. We professors are unusually open-minded, you know.