Building a foundation of respect - Part 6 | BuildForce Canada

Building a foundation of respect - Part 6

The challenges:

  • Ensuring that recruitment processes effectively reach candidates from under-represented groups
  • Ensuring that workplace culture encourages everyone to succeed

The solutions:

  • Recognizing that recruitment processes and workplace culture can be biased in unintended ways
  • Taking steps to ensure that recruitment and retention/promotion systems are not biased against any worker


  • Bias is an inclination or preference formed without reasonable justification that can prevent judgement from being balanced or even-handed.
  • Bias can be based on stereotyped beliefs about individuals and groups.
  • Everyone has biases, but by being aware of them, we can choose to not let them influence our behaviour and decisions.

Unconscious bias:

  • Often we are unaware that we have  biases because they are very deep in our subconscious.
  • These biased perceptions can form the basis of business decisions and the development of business processes without conscious awareness that they exclude those outside of the dominant group.

Workplace culture:

  • It's both the cause and effect of written and unwritten shared meanings, assumptions and values that guide and shape behaviour at work. 
  • A workplace that is dominated by one sex or one race will reflect the shared meanings and values of that sex or race.
  • This can have unintended consequences on who gets hired and promoted.


Job ads:

  • If a company always advertises job postings in  the same platform, it will always reach the same group of people.
    • Solution: Place job ads in at least three different platforms.

Workplace orientation:

  • Don't assume that new recruits will "just fit in."
  • Because the majority of employees in construction are men, the workplace culture is male-oriented and new recruits, especially women, may not understand this culture.
    • Solution: Clearly explain your workplace culture and expectations so they have an equal chance of success.


OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT: What it means to treat people as professionals.

Previous installment: Celebrating Canadian women in tradeswork on Canada's 150th anniversary



  • Advancing Women in the Skilled Trades. Inclusive Job Advertisement Checklist. Available online:
  • Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. Understanding Hidden Bias. 2014. Webinar.
  • Kaplan, Sarah. "Meritocracy: From Myth to Reality." In Rotman Magazine. Spring 2015.
  • Women Building Futures. She Works: Best Practices Awareness Workshops. May 2012.


What are some of things you can do to help new recruits feel welcome?


Status of Women Canada logo
This project has been funded by Status of Women Canada.