Increasing opportunities for Indigenous people in the workplace: the business community must play a lead role
Diverse perspectives lead to innovation and improved results for individuals, businesses and Canada
Widening the Circle: Increasing Opportunities for Indigenous people in the workplace-a report that follows Deloitte’s Dialogue on Diversity roundtables.
Toronto, April 10, 2013 — Indigenous people under the age of 30 represent the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s labour force. Deloitte has released a report with recommendations on how Canadian companies and the Indigenouscommunity can create stronger connections, improve relations and launch the careers of thousands of people.
Widening the circle: Increasing opportunities for Indigenous people in the workplace underscores the importance of a long-term commitment to building relationships between Indigenous people and business. It also highlights the need for greater collaboration, improved education and skills training, accommodation and cultural understanding.
“Creating inclusive workplaces is a responsibility we all share,” says Jane Allen, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer at Deloitte. “We hope our report inspires conversations, but more importantly, inspires action from Canadian companies that will provide Indigenous people with access to a wide range of careers and meaningful advancement opportunities.”
Addressing educational and hiring issues
According to the report, significant gaps in the education system make it hard to complete the formal education required by employers. There are limited opportunities to learn about careers beyond those traditionally aspired to in Indigenous communities, and there is little support available to navigate corporate systems. Once hired, Indigenous people can experience isolation and unfamiliarity with cultural norms. The absence of Indigenous colleagues and Indigenous role models in senior positions can contribute to retention challenges.
On the employer side, inflexible company hiring practices make it difficult to consider a wider range of qualifications and experience, while limited resources may be making it difficult to foster inclusive hiring and training practices. Misconceptions and old myths persist. At every opportunity, these attitudes must be dispelled through education and dialogue.
This report follows a series of roundtable sessions called Dialogues on Diversity held in nine cities across Canada last year. Each session included representatives from the business community, educational institutes, community-based Indigenous organizations and Deloitte professionals. Participants brought firsthand perspectives and many were of Indigenous heritage.
“Through our dialogues, we heard about the challenges and explored solutions for creating closer and more effective ties between Indigenous people and business,” said Allen. “We hope to change the conversation so that a new story about Indigenous people in the workplace can be written — one full of ideas and opportunities for a bright future.”
Increasing opportunities with 10 best practices
Here are Deloitte’s top 10 best practices for increasing opportunities for Indigenous people in the workplace:
- Partner with high schools, colleges and universities.
- Provide students with internships to give them training/experience.
- Question standard job requirements.
- Review screening/hiring/advancement practices to recognize unconventional talent and cultural differences.
- Conduct company-wide cultural training.
- Hire more than one Indigenous person.
- Promote Indigenous people to senior roles.
- Assess business/employment practices that could provide barriers to Indigenous people.
- Develop an Indigenous hiring and retention strategy.
- Communicate and celebrate successes.
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte operates in Quebec as Deloitte s.e.n.c.r.l., a Quebec limited liability partnership.
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