Ottawa to test name-blind hiring for civil service
TORONTO — The federal government will be testing whether hiding the names of job applicants would improve its hiring practices, in what it calls an effort to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the public service.
The Public Service Commission of Canada project, unveiled Thursday at Toronto’s Ryerson University, will compare the results of traditional screening methods with name-blind recruitment.
The practice consists of removing names and other identifying information such as email addresses and country of origin from job application forms in order to combat bias against people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. “We believe that the public service should reflect the idea that our diversity is our strength and should be a model of inclusion for employers across Canada and around the world,” said Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board.
The experiment will involve some externally advertised jobs in six federal departments, including National Defence, Global Affairs and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. A report on the findings is expected in October.
Brison said the pilot project is meant to identify best practices before rolling out the technique throughout the public service, which he said the government aims to do before the end of its mandate.
He said name-blind recruitment has been adopted in some universities as well as several European organizations, such as the British civil service.
Many orchestras made the switch to blind auditions, in which musicians play hidden by a screen, in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to a dramatic increase in the number of women hired, studies have shown.