New employment equity recruitment initiative

As part of a new initiative aimed at bolstering equity in the university’s hiring practices, McMaster began collecting data on diversity from applicants to any open position as of  July 1, 2020.

A voluntary, confidential  Applicant Diversity Survey is now part of  the recruitment process, inviting applicants to self-identify when part of an equity-seeking group, including Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples, persons belonging to racialized communities, persons with disabilities, women, and members of marginalized sexual orientation and gender identity communities.

All information collected is confidential and will only be used to understand the diversity of applicants, and identify possible bias and barriers in McMaster’s talent acquisition and recruitment processes.

The survey data will be used specifically for Faculty (MUFA) job openings in accordance with the revised Policy on Recruitment and Selection of Faculty Members to assist in resolving workforce gaps and increase the diversity of applicant pools.

Key elements of the updated Recruitment and Selection of Faculty Members policy include:

  • Consideration of workforce gaps at start of the recruitment process
  • Formation and training of search committees prior to advertisement
  • Considerations to employ targeted recruitment from equity-seeking groups
  • Applicants to complete a voluntary self-identification survey
  • Preference to be given to candidates of an equity-seeking group if finalists are found to be relatively equally qualified

Components of this new policy were piloted with the Faculties of Science and Engineering, with positive results.

“We have seen impactful changes in both our hiring practices and outcomes, but also in the culture of our Departments and Schools, says Maureen MacDonald, dean, Faculty of Science. “I think these changes will truly transform how we work, live and learn at McMaster.

“Overall it was a positive experience,” says Andrea Colbert-DeGeit, executive officer, Faculty of Engineering. “We’re looking forward to this launch and having access to such valuable data and support tools.”

The revision of this policy is one of many steps being taken across McMaster to foster diversity, employment equity and inclusive excellence.

“Updating faculty recruitment practices is an important step towards increasing the diversity of the teaching and research community at McMaster, says Wanda McKenna, AVP and chief human resource officer.  “Departments across campus will now have additional tools and resources to make improved hiring decisions that further support our equity, diversity and inclusion goals.”

Efforts are underway to consult broadly with key stakeholders and employee groups to review and update the Staff Hiring Guidelines.

To learn more about current employment equity initiatives, have questions related to this policy or recruitment in your department or Faculty, contact May-Marie Duwai-Sowa, employment equity specialist at