Advancing Women In Skilled Trades
Female Engineer in a hardhat

Recruitment Intro


Key Barriers

Tools and Strategies

01 /

Make job postings gender neutral

WHY? As the Department of Justice notes, “gender neutrality is important when writing about people because it is more accurate – not to mention respectful – and is consistent with the values of equality recoginzed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is also professionally responsible and is mandated by the Fenderal Plan for Gender Equality, which was approved by the Cabinet and presented to the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in 1995.


02 /

Advertise job openings widely

WHY? Workforce Planning Hamilton’s Hire Learning Survey (2015) found that 75% of employers use word of mouth referral as their main source of hiring. By providing job opportunities only to friends and family, women may be excluded if they are not in your networking circle. Word of mouth referral may also lead to cases of favouritism and nepotism and pose more challenges for women entering the trades.


03 /

Advertise your company’s commitment to women’s equality in the workplace

WHY? writes that making your workplace match the diversity of your community results in heightened market share, worker innovation, skilled recruitment, and company loyalty. Promoting your work culture and progressive policies will bran your company as forward-thinking organization; it will be more attractive to candidates and clients alike.

The diversity of Hamilton’s working age population is as follows:

1.5% Indigenous

14% Visible Minorities

49% Men

51% Women

How closely does your company mirror the community?


04 /

Increase applicant-workplace interaction

WHY? Inviting qualified prospect to tour the workplace is a creative ways for employees to see if they would be a good fit. These opportunities allow connections to be made with potentials employees.

HOW? Establish workplace ambassador to speak with candidates about women in your workplace

05 /

Conduct blind resume assessment to reduce hiring bias

WHY? Some of the biases against hiring women are subconscious. An article by The Earth Institute at Columbia University reports resume with women’s name were chosen only 66% as often as identical resumes with men’s names.


06 /

Have Standardized interview screenings and questions

WHY? According to the Public Service Commission of Canada, research shows that unstructured interviews can lead to poor hiring decisions because they are more vulnerable to:

Bias and inequality

People are often unaware of their own biases and how these biases unconsciously influence their decisions. Research shows that attributes such a physical attractiveness, a similarity of the applicant to the interviewer, gender and race can inappropriately influence an interview panel’s assessment. Personal beliefs and values may also influence the unstructured interview process so that different questions may be asked of different people, or the same answer provided by different applicants may be interpreted differently.

Inaccuracy and low prediction

Studies show that unstructured interviews are relatively ineffective at predicting job performances. This finding is largely attributed to the use of questions that are not necessarily based on qualifications required to perform the work. Since the assessment criteria are unclear, interview panel members may inaccurately and inadvertently judge applicants on irrelevant factors. Also, unstructured interviews make it easier for applicants to give answers they think the interview panel is looking for, rather than answers that provide accurate information on how they will perform once on the job.

Legal vulnerability

Unstructured interviews are more likely than structured ones to be challenged in court, based on grounds of illegal discrimination. A review of 158 United States federal court cases involving hiring discrimination from 1978 to 1997 revealed that unstructured interviews were challenged in court more often than any other type of selection device. Even more important is an examination of the outcomes of such legal challenges. Unstructured interviews were found to be discriminatory in 59% of these cases, whereas structured interviews were found to be discriminatory in 0% of cases


07 /

Have standardized interview evaluations

WHY? If a hiring decision is challenged, it is essential to be able to produce documentation of the processes followed and how decisions were made. Managers need to be able to explain their staffing decisions should there be complaints to be Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST). Therefore, when using a structured interview in an appointment process, it is recommended that the following information be kept on file:

HOW? Use standardized evaluation techniques