Deloitte study about increasing opportunities for Aboriginal people in the workplace

The Deloitte study Widening the circle: Increasing opportunities for Aboriginal people in the workplace, released last week, makes 10 recommendations to facilitate integration of Aboriginal people into the company.

The study goes beyond moral considerations, broaching the subject from an economic point of view and especially stressing employers’ interests in recruiting from this community.

Creating links between Aboriginal people and businesses could, for example, provide a partial response to the shortage of manpower: with 4% of the Canadian population, 20% of whom are under 25 years of age, Aboriginal people represent the labour market segment with the highest rate of growth.

Another advantage is that this pool of candidates could facilitate recruitment and reduce expenses, avoiding costly searches for manpower outside the country.

Also, working with populations present in areas where natural resources are exploited would temper reservations related to these operations and better manage latent conflicts.

Although the respective interests are clearly established, the study does not hide the complexity of forging links between Aboriginal people and businesses.

Even before implementation of the recommendations made, the author insists on the necessity of becoming aware of barriers met by Aboriginal people in the workplace, such as prejudices or educational underfunding, to better respond to them.

In the short term, the fight against the scourge of dropouts is a critical challenge. Businesses must therefore engage themselves early with the Aboriginal population, through partnerships with schools, mentoring programs and taking on students as interns, to provide role models for young people while giving priority to cultural differences.

The medium term recommendations, based on the benefits of diversity, require several adaptations of business methods to take cultural differences into account, reviewing the standard job requirements, for example, or hiring several native persons within the same company to facilitate their integration.
The study concludes that merging of points of view and joint efforts over the long term will be a guarantee of success to achieve improved results for businesses and individuals.

Here is the complete list of 10 best practices, developed after many dialogues across Canada:

  1. Partner with high schools, colleges and universities .
  2. Provide students with internships to give them training/experience .
  3. Question standard job requirements .
  4. Review screening/hiring/advancement practices to recognize unconventional talent and cultural differences .
  5. Conduct company-wide cultural training .
  6. Hire more than one Aboriginal person .
  7. Promote Aboriginal people to senior roles .
  8. Assess business/employment practices that could provide barriers to Aboriginal people.
  9. Develop an Aboriginal hiring and retention strategy .
  10. Communicate and celebrate successes 


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