Canadian HR Reporter

March 21, 2016

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER March 21, 2016 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA Federal vow to tackle weak Canadian productivity won't be easy: Experts New economic advisory council looking for solutions U.K. company's plans for 'period policy' ignites discussion about menstrual leave 'Brings challenges from HR perspective': Toronto-based specialist WestJet takes 2 employees out of flying duty after sex assault allegation Woman alleges company failed to respond adequately Quiet settles over oilpatch work camps, putting squeeze on operators Seeing about half-occupancy rate Ontario judge approves $20.6M settlement in Scotiabank overtime class-action suit Written reasons still to come Jail guards say health in danger from inmate attacks using fluids Union pushes for blood tests for inmates who attack guards Alberta health and safety officers to inspect 200 convenience stores, gas bars Have authority to write orders on the spot AROUND THE WORLD Slow U.S. wage growth does not signal weak job market: Fed study Underlying shift in labour forces South African government, mining firms agree to delay 16,000 job cuts Prices plunging for platinum, coal, iron ore U.S. women 80 per cent more likely than men to be poor in retirement: Report Women earn less, spend more time caregiving Skilled immigrants overlooked for leadership roles: Report Changing labour market among challenges for newcomers BY SARAH DOBSON WHILE employers are showing an increasing willingness to hire skilled immigrants, they still need to build more inclusive workplac- es, according to a report released by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). For one thing, many employ- ers are reluctant to consider im- migrants for leadership roles. Twenty per cent would not con- sider hiring a recent immigrant into a senior leadership or execu- tive position, according to a 2015 survey of 92 employers conducted by Canadian HR Reporter in part- nership with TRIEC. And in the Peel and Halton region in Ontario, 28 per cent of employers would not consider newcomers for supervisory or manager positions while 37 per cent would not consider them for senior leader or executive positions, according to a survey of 484 organizations by the Peel Halton Workforce Development Group. "Yes, the willingness is there but when you get to management, se- nior management, executive-level positions, they're not seen as a talent force," said Beth Clarke, director of employer programs at TRIEC. While minorities are being hired into pipeline positions for future leadership at a greater rate, change is still needed, according to Ratna Omidvar, executive di- rector and adjunct professor for the Global Diversity Exchange at the Ted Rogers School of Man- agement at Ryerson University in Toronto. "There's absolutely no doubt that the leadership profile in Canada... looks remarkably homogeneous." It's an issue the Canadian Board Diversity Council sees in its sur- veys, according to founder Pamela Jeffery. In 2015, visible minorities made up just 7.3 per cent of the board seats at FP500 companies in Canada, she said. "Not only are they not on boards, they're not in the pipeline to be on boards because they're woefully underrepresented at the executive team level," she said. "e challenge that these folks have is very much the same chal- lenge that women have, which is that there is bias and that the in- dividuals are seen not to have the expertise that is required." HR policies should include un- conscious bias training for every- body, "so managers and those re- porting to managers are aware of the biases they have," said Jeffery. Many employers prefer to hire from the school they came from, said Clarke. "It's biases like that that often have an impact in terms of immi- grants getting hired... e more risk involved in the position, higher level position, there's more concern or they're sometimes less willing to go outside of the com- fort zone." But in looking at the immi- grant population, many of them have worked at multinationals all over the world and they manage to adapt from one culture to the next, she said. "Why wouldn't they able to do that in Canada?... Why is it in Can- ada, we don't trust the experience and the background?" Interviews Written by labour market expert Tom Zizys, the TRIEC report also included interviews with about 20 respondents made up of senior HR staff from the finance and insurance sector, recruitment and HR advisors, and individuals knowledgeable about skilled im- migrants and the Toronto region labour market. ey spoke about employers' prevailing focus on the short-term versus the long-term, which can drive just-in-time hiring to fill a staffing need, rather than invest- ment in the development of a worker. "Pretty well everybody wants somebody to come in and hit the ground running, with no on- boarding, no real time to adapt to the environment," said Clarke. "Many immigrants can but there's just a really risk-averse mindset that's going on right now, so im- migrants are the unknown." Hiring managers say it's impor- tant to keep shareholders happy and the quarterly report is one of their most pressing priorities, said Omidvar, who was also TRIEC's founding executive director. "e hiring has to align itself with that, so if there are any ex- tra concerns about onboarding or about training or about orien- tation, then people choose low- hanging fruit." ere are also structural issues, she said, such as the need for a particular licence or accreditation. "Canadians tend to undervalue international experience as op- posed to the United States, for instance, which values interna- tional experience very much and they do business all of the world," said Omidvar. ere can also be internal barri- ers once people are hired, such as cultural issues, said Clarke. "How leadership skills are dem- onstrated in some cultures to an- other is quite different." Policies and practices may unintentionally be a factor, as an immigrant might come in at a lower level and be suitable for another job two levels up, but the hiring manager may not be able to see that because of how eyes in the talent pool are organized, she said. "Sometimes, there are struc- tural and process issues that are in place, so it'sā€¦ not all bias-driv- en, some of it is simply process- driven and until you start pull- ing back the layers and looking deeper at what's happening can you start to understand what's happening." Labour market trends TRIEC also looked at labour mar- ket trends that could be a factor when it comes to employment of skilled immigrants, such as polar- ization ā€” growth of jobs in high- er-paying, higher-skilled sectors or lower-paying, lower-skilled occupations ā€” and new business models such as temporary em- ployment or contract work. When it comes to polarization or the hourglass economy, a lot of immigrants are competing with students, said Clarke. ere's so much emphasis put on student unemployment right now, but if more immigrants could get into higher-skill positions, it would allow more room for students to enter the labour market. "Oftentimes, the groups are played off each other or often- times strategies are looking at one or the other, and I think really it's part of broader issue that we have ā€” there are a lot of jobs, it's just how do you make sure the right people are being considered at the right level?" e middle-income group was the traditional way many immi- grants found progressive careers, and that's been lost, said Omidvar. As for just-in-time hiring or temporary work, that's a challenge for anybody, she said. "But for someone who's starting to get their feet on the ground, it's particularly hard because they don't have savings or they may not have EI credits that they can call on because they haven't been in the country long enough, so it's particularly challenging for newcomers." Multicultural potlucks... We are so past that. Standard diversity practices only take you so far. Learn about next-level diversity. "Pretty well everybody wants somebody to come in and hit the ground running, with no onboarding, no real time to adapt to the environment."

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