Aboriginals under the age of 30 are the fastest-growing segment of Canada's work force, and a new report concludes companies need to change their hiring practices to boost job opportunities.
The report from professional services firm Deloitte outlines 10 ways firms can re-examine hiring. "Widening the Circle: Increasing opportunities for aboriginal people in the workplace" found that there needs to be a long-term commitment to build better relationships with aboriginal people, including greater collaboration, training, accommodation and cultural understanding.
The report comes on the heels of a series of roundtable sessions that were held in nine cities across Canada last year.
"Through our dialogues, we heard about the challenges and explored solutions for creating closer and more effective ties between aboriginal people and business," Jane Allen, partner and chief diversity officer at Deloitte, said in a release. "We hope to change the conversation so that a new story about aboriginal people in the workplace can be written – one full of ideas and opportunities for a bright future."
Here are Deloitte's 10 practices to increase opportunities for aboriginal people in the workplace:
1. Partner with high schools, colleges and universities.
2. Provide students with internships to give them training and experience.
3. Question standard job requirements.
4. Review screening, hiring, and 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 and employment practices that could provide barriers to aboriginal people.
9. Develop an aboriginal hiring and retention strategy.
10. Communicate and celebrate successes.
The report found that significant gaps in the education system make it difficult for aboriginals to complete the formal education required by some employers. There are also few ways for aboriginals to learn about the variety of careers available to them, and they often find it challenging to navigate corporate systems.
When aboriginals are hired they can experience isolation, and the absence of role models and aboriginal colleagues can make retention challenging, the report found. In addition, many hiring practices are inflexible and don't consider a broad range of qualifications or experience.
"Misconceptions and old myths persist. At every opportunity, these attitudes must be dispelled through education, listening and conversation," Deloitte said in a release.