Employment Equity Promotion Rate Study

Summary from the Public Service Commission’s report on promotion rates of employment equity groups, showing women have greater promotion rates than men, comparable promotion rates of visible minorities compared to not visible minorities, and lower rates among Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.

Curious to see if and how the government implements recommendation 2 to breakdown the data into sub-groups such as visible minority without either asking public servants to self-identify or using name recognition technology to approximate the groups:

Part 1: Analysis of recent employment equity promotion rates

Part 1 of the study is based on 172 125 promotions from 230 310 indeterminate employees. Our findings present a mixed picture in terms of promotion rates across employment equity groups. Our public service-wide results indicate that women have a higher promotion rate when compared to men. This contrasts with Indigenous people and with persons with disabilities, who both experienced lower promotion rates than their respective counterparts. We found no appreciable difference between members of visible minorities and their counterparts.

Results also show variations for some employment equity groups across occupational categories. For example, despite having a higher overall promotion rate when compared to men, women have a lower promotion rate in the Scientific and Professional and the Technical categories. These lower promotion rates are offset by higher relative promotion rates for women in the Administrative Support and Administrative and Foreign Service occupational categories.

Part 2: Analysis of promotion rates of employment equity new hires across 2 time periods

Part 2 of the study relied on 74 762 promotions from 112 667 indeterminate employees and 97 856 promotions from 141 836 indeterminate employees for the first and second time periods respectively. Our results on the promotion rates of new hires across time periods (from April 1991 to March 2005 and from April 2005 to March 2018) suggest an improvement over time in the relative promotion rates of women, Indigenous people and persons with disabilities. However, promotion rates for Indigenous people and persons with disabilities remain below those of their counterparts. For members of visible minorities, there are no appreciable differences in promotion rates relative to their counterparts in either of the 2 time periods.

Part 3: Employment equity applicant representation and shares of promotions

Our analysis suggests that women and members of visible minorities apply at a higher rate than their rate of representation in the federal public service. Women’s share of promotions is roughly equivalent to their representation as applicants, while members of visible minorities exhibit a share of promotions that is lower than their representation as applicants.

A different pattern emerges for Indigenous people and persons with disabilities, whose representation as applicants is below their representation rates in the federal public service, while their share of promotions is on par or above their representation as applicants. This may, in part, explain differences in the promotion rates of these 2 employment equity groups as compared to their counterparts.

In response to these findings, we are recommending that, in consultation with stakeholders and employment equity community members:

  • Recommendation 1: further research be conducted to better understand underlying barriers that contribute to lower promotion rates for some employment equity groups
    • for example, the upcoming Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey (Spring 2020) should be leveraged to gain insight into employment equity group views on barriers to career progression
  • Recommendation 2: work be undertaken to break down employment equity category data by sub-groups to allow for a more comprehensive and accurate identification of barriers that are unique to individual sub-groups, including their intersectionality
  • Recommendation 3: further outreach be provided to federal departments and agencies in order to increase awareness of the range of policy, service and program options aimed at supporting a diverse workplace
  • Recommendation 4: public service-wide approaches to career progression be explored including broadening access to existing successful programs and services such as the Aboriginal Leadership Development Initiative and the Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology Program at Shared Services Canada
  • Recommendation 5: concerted efforts across central agencies be undertaken to explore how we can learn from the Aboriginal Leadership Development Initiative and extend similarly targeted services and development opportunities to all employment equity groups, including development programs and career support services that are specifically designed with, and for, employment equity groups

We extend our thanks to Professor Marcel Voia and Statistics Canada who have reviewed this study and provided insightful suggestions, comments and feedback.

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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