Like other universities, McGill has a smaller proportion of Indigenous people, people with disabilities, and racialized people/visible minorities amongst its faculty and staff as compared with the broader applicable labour market across Montreal, Quebec and Canada. Women are also underrepresented in some key areas and ranks.
McGill’s Employment Equity Survey forms part of a sustained effort to enhance levels of representation of equity-designated groups by addressing imbalances in opportunities to gain employment and advance professionally at the University. The confidential survey asks faculty and staff to indicate whether they identify as belonging to one or more of the following groups:
- Indigenous Peoples
- Racialized persons / visible minorities
- Ethnic minorities (non-racialized and non-Indigenous persons whose first language is neither English nor French)
- Persons with disabilities
- Persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities
Knowledge gaps remain despite high participation rate
Since the survey was launched in 2007, McGill faculty and staff have shown strong support for the initiative, with the response rate currently standing at over 70 percent. But there is still work to be done to move closer to full participation and ensure the University has the most accurate possible picture of the makeup of its workforce.
“The participation rate among tenure-stream academics is particularly strong at over 80 percent,” explains Sara Pierre, Senior Employment Equity Advisor in the Office of the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic). “But we see lower rates elsewhere, such as with course lecturers and in trades, or among other employees whose daily work might not involve checking emails or working at a computer.”
Pierre also points out that, to ensure the survey data is accurate, it can be important for those who have already completed the survey to consider doing it again.
“People’s answers may change over time, either because their circumstances change or because, previously, they might not have thought of themselves as belonging to one of the groups mentioned in the survey,” she says, referring to the persons with disabilities as being one category where she suspects there is a significant knowledge gap in the survey data.
“Many don’t realize that ongoing conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia, mental health disorders such as anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, or learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dyspraxia may be considered disabilities in the context of employment equity.”
No time like the present
Two important dates coming up in December – the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 and International Human Rights Day on December 10 – serve as timely reminders of the goals of eliminating barriers to participation and creating a workplace that is more representative of the social diversity of McGill’s student body and the wider Montreal and Quebec communities.
“A lack of representation in the workforce can leave employees feeling isolated and less likely to reach their full career potential,” says Pierre.
“Data from the Employment Equity Survey allows us to take concrete steps to identify and remove systemic barriers to equity in recruitment, retention and promotion.”
Count yourself in
If you haven’t completed the Employment Equity Survey or would like to update your responses by completing the survey again, it only takes a few minutes to do so. Responses are completely confidential and survey results are reported only in summary or aggregate form.
Head to the Equity at McGill website to learn more.