You might be missing a key POV on your team.

June is the National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a great opportunity for Canadians to acknowledge First Nations and Indigenous Peoples, learn about their histories, cultures and celebrate their contributions to Canada. According to the 2021 census, more than 1.8 million people in Canada identify themselves as Indigenous Persons, which represents about 5% of Canada’s total population. The employment rate among the Indigenous adults in 2021 was 61.2%, lower than non-indigenous population owing to several factors that include, cultural differences, lack of education, discrimination etc.

Today’s Canadian businesses acknowledge and realize the importance and value Indigenous Peoples bring with an incredibly rich culture and a connection to the environment. Indigenous teammates offer a unique perspective to modern day businesses.  

If you are a hiring manager or business owner looking to attract more Indigenous talent, here are five tips that will help you:

1. Understanding Indigenous Culture

One of the key components to successfully recruiting Indigenous candidates is learning and understanding their unique cultural backgrounds so they feel welcomed in your workplace. It starts at the job post and continues to the interview stage. Great interviewers are aware of the cultural differences and should be able to discuss the candidate’s background with respect, awareness and knowledge. share the basic Indigenous cultural differences and guidelines:

  • Community is first for all values in Indigenous communities.
  • Oral, or spoken word, is preferred over print.
  • Goals are met with patience.
  • Work is often motivated by a group need because value is emphasized through community.
  • Silences are acceptable and soft-spoken words carry the farthest.
  • Listening skills are prized.
  • Nodding signifies understanding and not necessarily agreement.
  • Group praise over individual praise holds higher value.

Understanding these basic differences can enable hiring managers ensure a fair recruitment process when considering an Indigenous candidate.

2. Recruiting from Indigenous colleges & schools

According to a 2020 statistics, there are about 80 Indigenous institutes across Canada. More than 16,000 Indigenous students attend Ontario’s public colleges and universities alone— this accounts for half of the Indigenous post-secondary students in Canada, and approximately 1.7% of Ontario’s post-secondary student population. By recruiting directly from these institutes, Canadian businesses can increase the Indigenous participation within their teams.

Another avenue to directly recruit Indigenous talent is to visit the Government of Canada’s pools and inventories. This website enables business leaders to directly request referral to Indigenous candidates registered within the database through initiatives like Inuksugait Resume Inventory and Indigenous Career Pathways.

One important educational pathway in Canada is through vocational training. If you are a business offering apprenticeship, research indicates that when achieving trade certification, Indigenous journeypersons were more likely to complete apprenticeship training than challenge the examination. This can be a great way to add more Indigenous People in your team.

3. Flexibility in educational requirements:

Statistics indicate that roughly 44% of First Nations aged 15 and over, do not hold any certificate, diploma or degree, compared to 23% for the Canadian population. The same statistics point out that under existing Canadian education system, many First Nations People suffer long wait lists, discriminatory education practices, low graduation rates, and decreased quality of life, making it difficult to achieve standardised educational qualifications.

When hiring for a role, employees who wish to encourage candidates from Indigenous communities must reconsider their “educational” requirements, and instead focus on the experience, wisdom and the unique perspective that candidates from Indigenous backgrounds bring. This way they can level the playing field and drive diversity and inclusion within their teams.

4. Indigenous hiring events:

Participating in Indigenous hiring events are a great way to directly connect with Indigenous candidates and employers. As an employer, it provides an excellent opportunity to meet with Indigenous candidates face to face. Moreover, it can also help potential employers understand future career goals, career expectations, and aspirations. Gaining this intel can help business owners make informed hiring decisions.

In Canada, Indigenous hiring events are held across the country. Aboriginal Futures, Indigenous Canada have in-person and virtual job fairs to recruit Indigenous candidates. Employers can participate in these career events to get access to the Indigenous talent pool.

5. Working with an Indigenous staffing partner:

One of the best ways to achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce is to work with a staffing partner who understands the nuances of Indigenous culture. A staffing partner who possesses in-depth understanding of the Indigenous Peoples brings an invaluable perspective to these recruitment functions for employers.

Agilus is the operating partner for Stream Source, an Indigenous-owned payroll and recruiting firm based in Alberta. At Agilus, we believe that diversity, inclusion, and equity are integral to our success and our client’s success. With a dedicated team, Agilus helps Canadian businesses realise the benefits of hiring Indigenous talent.

At Agilus, we aim to secure long-term sustainable employment, partnerships for Indigenous peoples and businesses, and community investment. Through our partnership, we recognize the need to better understand the history of Indigenous peoples and their inclusion in the work community. With this knowledge, strong community relationships, and a solid infrastructure, Agilus is setting new benchmarks and best practice standards across the scope of Indigenous hiring and engagement. If you’re interested in working with Stream Source or want more Indigenous talent in your team, reach out to us.






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