In The Media

Federal government’s 'name-blind' hiring pilot is important: Experts

by Alex Abdelwahab (feat. Andrew Griffith)

Metro News
April 25, 2017

The federal government's pilot project to implement so-called “name-blind” recruitment could be an important testing ground for a popular academic theory, according to experts.

“This should give us a bit of a real world data set. I think that’s useful to have,” said Andrew Griffith, a former director general of the citizenship and immigration department, who spent 30 years in the public service.

The pilot project will see six government departments remove names from job applications, in order to not be influenced from any unconscious bias during the hiring process. They will then release the results of the pilot in October.

Several studies, including a joint study earlier this year by the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, have shown candidates with foreign-sounding names get called for interviews less often than their counterparts with Anglo-Canadian names.

The six departments implementing the pilot include Griffith’s former department: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; the Department of National Defence; Global Affairs Canada; Public Services and Procurement Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; and the Treasure Board Secretariat.

“There’s a real advantage to doing this kind of thing because I’m very convinced by the kind of analysis that shows if your name is Jane, you’re more likely to be called for an interview than if your name is Samaira,” Griffith said.

However, he cautioned that it worked best as initiative to screen people into the public service, and would not necessarily be replicable at higher levels within the departments.

“At a higher level, you’ll be known no matter even if you take the name off. Government is a large organization, but departments are not that large,” Griffith said, explaining the work examples within the applications would allow the recruiters to identify the candidate even if their name wasn’t included.

Ruth Wright, director of leadership and human resources leadership with the Conference Board of Canada, said she is very interested to hear about the results of the pilot.

“I certainly applaud the federal government for setting up a pilot around this because I think it will provide leadership for other organizations,” she said. “I think it’s something that’s maybe overdue.”

While similar initiatives have been done in other countries – in the United Kingdom, the government requires name-blind applications for university admissions, the civil service, local government and the BBC – Wright said she hasn’t heard of many examples in Canada.

“Taking on these pilots can only teach us things,” she said. “It has been slow to catch on in organizations.”


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Donate to Canadian Global Affairs Institute Subscribe
 

SEARCH


 

EVENTS

4th Annual Defence Procurement Conference
October 26th, 2017
Ottawa, Ontario

David Frum - Speaker Series Dinner
November 15th, 2017
Calgary, Alberta

 

IN THE MEDIA


Impasse over intellectual property is tying up warship bids
by Murray Brewster (feat. Dave Perry), CBC News, August 11, 2017

Canada could stand to gain more than lose from redrafted NAFTA: trade expert
by Christopher Guly (feat. Colin Robertson), China.org.cn, August 11, 2017

A nuclear-free North Korea is the goal, however impractical
by Anthony Furey (feat. Marius Grinius), Toronto Sun, August 10, 2017

 

LATEST TWEETS


Donate | Submit | Media Inquiries
Making sense of our complex world. | Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.
 
HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Suite 1600, 530 8th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada  T2P 3S8
 
OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute

8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1N 5S6

Phone: (613) 288-2529 
Email: contact@cgai.ca 
Web: cgai.ca
 
2002-2015 Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Charitable Registration No.  87982 7913 RR0001