What the Public Service Employee Survey breakdowns of visible minority and other groups tell us about diversity and inclusion

My companion piece to the earlier https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/october-2020/what-new-disaggregated-data-tells-us-about-federal-public-service-diversity/:

PSES data supports the view that the government has considerable work to improve the workplace organizational culture to reduce harassment and discrimination for both visible minority and Indigenous groups. 

Black employees report being a victim of discrimination the most, generally and with respect to race and colour. But all groups report significantly higher discrimination than all employees, according to data analyzed by Andrew Griffith. 

Following the 2019 Employment Equity Report provision of disaggregated representation for visible minorities, Indigenous people, and persons with disabilities, the 2019 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) similarly lays out these breakdowns for the four employment equity categories along with LGBTQ2 persons, to assess whether or not the public service is inclusive to all groups.

With the availability of disaggregated data, we now can compare the experiences of different visible minority and Indigenous groups, using the helpful summary tables available at Open Data.

For ease in analysis, I have separated indicators pertaining more to organizational culture (employee engagement, senior management, workplace well-being, empowerment, career development, diversity and inclusion) from those of personal experience (harassment and discrimination).

Figure 1 contrasts the results for the 22 organizational culture questions for women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities (PwD) and LGTBQ2, highlighting those with a variance of five per cent better or worse compared to all employees. Overall, the major issues appear to be with respect to PwD across virtually all indicators followed by Indigenous employees with respect to diversity and inclusion. Visible minorities and LGBTQ2 are largely similar to all employees, with the exception of higher stress due to discrimination for visible minorities. However, visible minorities also indicated being more satisfied with senior management and less stressed after the workday.

Figure 2 compares the harassment and discrimination indicators across the categories. The results are as one would expect for each category. While visible minorities are comparable to all employees with respect to harassment, they are more likely to have encountered discrimination based on their race, ethnic origin, colour, or religion. Indigenous people are more likely to feel excluded and encounter discrimination based on their race. Once again, PwD are more likely to encounter harassment, whether being subject to excessive control, being excluded, humiliated or encountering interference in their work, and being discriminated against in their disability. LGBTQ2 people encounter more sexual comment or gesture harassment, along with greater discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Visible minorities

Figure 3 contrasts the responses for the different visible minority groups for the organizational culture indicators compared to all employees. Generally, employee engagement indicators show comparable results across all groups to all employees with minor variations. Most groups are more satisfied with senior management than all employees, particularly with respect to information flow. Workplace well-being indicators are generally more positive than for all employees, with the notable exception of harassment- and discrimination-induced stress. While empowerment indicators generally are similar to all employees, Black, Japanese, and Korean feel the least empowered. Career development indicators are also generally comparable, with the exception of more negative perceptions by Japanese, Black, South Asian, and West Asian employees responding that discrimination has adversely affected their career progress. While diversity and inclusion indicators are generally comparable across groups, Japanese employees have the lowest satisfaction along with Black employees regarding support for a diverse workplace.

Overall, Filipinos have the highest levels of satisfaction of all groups consistently across all indicators.

Figure 4 contrasts the responses for the different visible minority groups for the harassment and discrimination indicators compared to all employees. Black, Filipino, and Chinese employees report lower harassment for most indicators than other groups. Aggressive behaviour is highest among some Asian groups, along with yelling or shouting. Perceived unfair treatment is common to most groups, save Filipino and Southeast Asian.

Overall, Japanese employees report the greatest harassment and least satisfaction regarding harassment resolution and Filipinos the least harassment and greatest satisfaction with resolution, followed by Chinese employees.

Black employees report being a victim of discrimination the most, generally and with respect to race and colour. But all groups report significantly higher discrimination than all employees, whether by race, ethnic origin or colour, save for West Asians/Arab. However, Southeast Asian and West Asians/Arab report high levels of religious discrimination, most likely related to Islam. Interestingly, both Chinese and Southeast Asian employees report higher levels of age discrimination, and family status discrimination is highest among Japanese. Discrimination resolution satisfaction is highest with Filipinos and lowest with Black, Japanese, Latin American and mixed.

Indigenous groups

Figure 5 contrasts the responses of the three Indigenous groups for the organizational culture indicators compared to all employees. Overall, Inuit have higher levels of satisfaction across the vast majority of these indicators, with Métis having the lowest levels with respect to employee engagement, the highest work-related stress and the lowest levels of empowerment. North American Indian/First Nations and Métis employees rate the psychological health lower than all employees and all three groups report higher levels of discrimination-induced stress.

Figure 6 contrasts the responses with respect to harassment and discrimination. All Indigenous groups report harassment over the past 12 months, being excluded or ignored. Inuit have higher rates of being humiliated or being subject to offensive remarks while Métis report being subject to excessive control and personal attacks. Only Inuit are satisfied with harassment resolution while Métis are least satisfied. With respect to discrimination, all have experienced higher levels of discrimination than all employees, with very high levels based on race for First Nations and Inuit and high levels with respect to nation or ethnic origin. As in the case of harassment resolution, only Inuit are as satisfied as all employees while Métis are least satisfied.

While it appears that the experience of visible minorities is worse than Indigenous peoples, PSES data supports the view that the government has considerable work to improve the workplace organizational culture to reduce harassment and discrimination for both visible minority and Indigenous groups. This needs to take place at the general and the specific group levels by each department given the variances between the individual groups.

As in the case of disaggregated data with respect to employment equity groups, the increased granularity of the PSES provides a richer evidence base for managers and human resources to develop measures to improve inclusion in the public service at the departmental and organizational levels.

Methodology:

This analysis is based upon the TBS abridged PSES data table, 2019 PSES —Diversity and Inclusion Tables. The data tables contain comparisons of the 2019 PSES results between certain demographic groups or sub-types of designated groups under the Employment Equity Act and the rest of the public service. As the PSES is a voluntary survey, open to core public administration (Schedule I and IV) and separate agencies (Schedule V), the responses cover a broader range of organizations than TBS Employment Equity reports which only apply to core public administration. Responses for categories and groups were contrasted with all responses, save for the general question on harassment and discrimination for women which is a direct comparison with men. TBS weighs the responses based on workforce demographics. The response numbers by group were taken from the  2019 Public Service Employee Survey open dataset.

A threshold of five per cent to flag significant differences was used, with red indicating worse and green better.

Larger format tables (pdf):

Source: https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/11/02/what-the-public-service-employee-survey-breakdowns-of-visible-minority-and-other-groups-tell-us-about-diversity-and-inclusion/270120?utm_source=Subscriber+-++Hill+Times+Publishing&utm_campaign=952f203e8a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_11_03_11_00&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8edecd9364-952f203e8a-90755301&mc_cid=952f203e8a&mc_eid=685e94e554

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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