Could a ‘blind recruitment’ policy make Canada less racist?

Good debate and discussion to have, given work by Oreopoulos and others demonstrating hiring bias:

What’s in a name? More than you may think. Removing names from job applications — a process known as blind recruitment — can actually curb both overt racism and unconscious bias.

And at least one MP thinks that Canada should adopt the policy.

Liberal MP Ahmed Hussen made that statement after CBC Marketplaceinvestigated how race and culture influences how companies treat shoppers, apartment-hunters and job-seekers across Canada.

Hussen stood in Parliament Wednesday to suggest that the federal government follow Britain’s lead to better ensure our government ranks reflect the people they serve.

“We must ensure our public service adopts name-blind recruitment,” the newly elected MP said. “I rise today to bring attention to an idea that will assist in our fight to end discrimination and attain real equality in our country.

“It is crucial that Canadians who have got the grades, skills, and the determination succeed.”

Britain adopted a blind-recruitment policy for its civil service in October 2015 after a number of organizations found the practice worthwhile.

While visible minorities make up almost 20 per cent of Canada’s population, the civil service is less diverse at only 14 per cent, according to 2013 data.

The months-long Marketplace investigation looked at blind recruitment and how bias affects how we’re treated and how we treat one another, including why we intervene — or don’t — to defend a stranger.

‘It’s had a huge impact’

When the Toronto Symphony Orchestra began to audition musicians blindly in 1980, putting them behind a screen, the result was profound.

While the hiring committee could hear an applicant’s performance, they not see what he or she looked like. They even put down a carpet so high heels couldn’t be heard.

Now the orchestra — which was made up almost entirely of white men in the 1970s — is almost half female and much more diverse.

“It’s had a huge impact from the beginning, when screens came in,” says David Kent, the TSO’s principal timpanist and personnel manager.

Source: Could a ‘blind recruitment’ policy make Canada less racist? – Canada – CBC News

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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