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Canadian Centre for Policy The Manitoba Research Alliance on Community by pimpdaddymust

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									   Canadian Centre for Policy The Manitoba Research Alliance on Community
      Alternatives—Manitoba Economic Development in the New Economy




                                                                                    Research for communities


                                                          EMPLOYING ABORIGINAL PEOPLE IN THE
                                                                  BANKING INDUSTRY
                                                    A new study highlights successful strategies to increase the employment of
                                                            Aboriginal people in Manitoba’s financial services sector



                                                   T
                                                         he banking industry has been              use of information technology in banking
                                                         experiencing a dramatic technological     has created new opportunities for highly
                                                         change over the past two decades.         educated workers while decreasing
                                                   Technologies, such as telephone banking,        the demand for workers without a
                                                   ATMs, online banking, and electronic            postsecondary education.
                                                   funds transfers, have allowed financial            These changes have taken place at the
                                                   institutions to reduce branch and sales staff    same time that Aboriginal people have
                                                   (and even close branches), as customers         become a significant presence in the
                                                   use automated telephone lines to carry out      Manitoba workforce. The 2001 census
                                                   routine transactions. At the same time,         indicates that Aboriginal people comprise
                                                                                                   13.6% of Manitoba’s population and 8.2%
                                                                                                   of Winnipeg’s population. Approximately
                                                                                                   1 in 3 Aboriginal persons in Manitoba
Art work created by Art City participants. Photo




                                                                                                   were under the age of 15 in 2001. Further,
                                                                                                   23.1% of Manitobans between the ages of
                                                                                                   0 and 14 were Aboriginal, as were 14% of
courtesy Assiniboine Credit Union.




                                                                                                   individuals in Winnipeg. Unfortunately,
                                                                                                   Aboriginal people have yet to become such
                                                                                                   a presence in the banking workforce in this
                                                                                                   province.
                                                                                                     According to a recent study of Aboriginal
                                                                                                   employment in the banking industry, the
                                                   Assiniboine Credit Union branch manager Brian
                                                                                                   proportion of Aboriginal persons working
                                                   McIvor.
                                                                                                   permanently, full-time in the banking
                                                   the need for skilled knowledge workers to       sector in Manitoba ranges from 1.2% for
                                                   perform complex back-office information           CIBC to 5.6% for Royal Bank. The Bank
                                                   processing has increased. This increasing       of Nova Scotia has the highest proportion
                                                                                                   of Aboriginal permanent part-time

                                                   Research for communities                                                             Summer 2006   • 1 •
               employees at 5.5%, or 8 of 146 employees.      Aboriginal employment is designed to satisfy
               In comparison 1.4% (1 of 71) of the            its employment mission statement:
               permanent part-time workforce at the Bank
                                                                  We are committed to employing a
               of Montreal is Aboriginal. In Winnipeg, the
                                                                  workforce that is representative of the
               Royal Bank has the largest proportion of
                                                                  community and that is well paid, well
               Aboriginal persons among permanent full-
                                                                  trained, respected and empowered,
               time and part-time staff, at 5.2% for full-
                                                                  working in a safe, healthy environment
               time and 4.3% for part-time employees.
                                                                  of continuous improvement.
                 Titled Aboriginal Employment in the
               Banking Sector in Manitoba, the study was         Assiniboine aims to maintain the ratio of
               carried out by Kathleen Sexsmith with          Aboriginal employees to its total workforce
               Aaron Pettman for the Manitoba Research        at the same rate at which Aboriginal people
               Alliance on Community Economic                 are represented
               Development in the New Economy.                in the                  “The Assiniboine
               The report noted that Winnipeg’s three         surrounding                  Credit Union
               Aboriginal financial institutions (First        community.                      Aboriginal
               Nations Bank, MeDian Credit Union, and         The company        employment strategy
               Peace Hills Trust) have been able to attract   is not federally     is exemplary for its
               and maintain very high percentages of          legislated to       respectful modelling
               Aboriginal employees at all employee levels.   meet diversity
               However, Assiniboine Credit Union was the
                                                                                           of Aboriginal
                                                              regulations,
               only non-Aboriginal financial institution       but rather that
                                                                                                  culture.”
               which had been able to successfully            it chooses to
               recruit and retain a significant number of      do so out of commitment to employment
               Aboriginal workers. The rest of this paper     equity as a business principle. A turnover
               summarizes the study’s examination of why      rate for Aboriginal people of less than 1%
               the Assiniboine model is so successful.        has been attained, which is 10 times lower
                                                              than the Aboriginal turnover rates of most
               THE ASSINIBOINE ACCOMPLISHMENT
                                                              other similar organizations.
                 Assiniboine Credit Union has the highest
               proportion of Aboriginal people as a share     RECRUITMENT
               of total employees. At ACU 11.7% of the          The Assiniboine Aboriginal recruitment
               workforce is Aboriginal, a proportion that     strategy is succinct and thorough, and
               had remained constant in 2003 and 2004.        could be used as a model by other financial
               These Aboriginal workers were distributed      institutions for its success. This strategy has
               from entry-level positions through to          eight components:
               management.                                    • the establishment of relationships with
               MISSION                                          Aboriginal networks, and employment
                Assiniboine Credit Union’s approach to          and education agencies



• 2 •   Summer 2006                                           Aboriginal people in the banking industry
• the use of work experience and job           important component of Assiniboine’s
  shadowing programs and summer                Aboriginal employment strategy. Through
  employment opportunities for students        its partnership with Urban Circle adult
                                               learner centre offers students are given job-
• the definition of parameters around full-
                                               shadow opportunities and are then offered
  time and part-time employment
                                               employment upon graduation from the
• flexibility in compensation negotiations      training program. These employees start at
                                               entry-level positions and subsequent efforts
• the concerted effort to hire from colleges
  and universities and to provide on-the-job
  training towards positions in technical,
  professional and management roles




                                                                                              Photo courtesy Assiniboine Credit Union.
• the provision of scholarships or bursaries
  for college or university students with
  the offer of potential employment upon
  graduation

• referrals from existing Aboriginal
  employers

• the inclusion of an Aboriginal person
                                               are made to advance them through the
  on the selection committee when hiring
                                               organization, some being advanced through
  Aboriginal employees
                                               to the management stream.
  The company recruits directly from             Assiniboine has also participated in the
Aboriginal centres whose students are          Aboriginal and Black Youth Internship
making life changes, such as Urban Circle,     program in partnership with Manitoba
the Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Career           Education and Training, through which
Awareness Committee, Red River College,        three students were hired for six-week job
adult learning centres, and Aboriginal         shadowing placements from Gordon Bell
job fairs. It has also hired employees from    and R.B. Russell High Schools. Finally, the
the New Directions, Reaching Equality          company has participated in the Manitoba
and the Centre for Human Resource              Career Start program, which offers full-time
Development, and has partnerships              summer employment to eligible individuals
with the Interprovincial Association of        attending postsecondary education.
Native Employment and the Manitoba
Employment Equity Practitioners                CULTURE
Association.                                     The Assiniboine Credit Union Aboriginal
                                               employment strategy is exemplary for its
PLACEMENTS                                     respectful modelling of Aboriginal culture.
  Short-term work placements are an            This is evident in the company’s approach


Research for communities                                                             Summer 2006                                         • 3 •
CANADIAN CENTRE                to new employee training programs, which          creation of partnerships with the Aboriginal
FOR POLICY                     is concerned with both performance                community to be a two-way process, and
ALTERNATIVES-MB                expectations and competency development.          actively seeks connections with potential
309-323 Portage Ave.           Competencies are considered by Assiniboine        Aboriginal employees. Assiniboine
Winnipeg, MB                   to be the “soft skills that are the foundation    deliberately approaches those organizations
Canada R3B 2C1                 for the application of technical skills           whose graduates have overcome troubled
ph: (204) 927-3200
                               and knowledge,” and are “relevant to the          past lives and are attempting to make
                               Aboriginal workforce because they are values      positive life changes, seeking out individuals
fax: (204) 927-3201
                               based, they consider the whole person and         whose educational and employment
ccpamb@policyalternatives.ca
                               their potential and they foster development       backgrounds might not make them ideal
www.policyalternatives.ca      by consistently clarifying expectations.” The     candidates.
                               holistic approach to employee development,          The sincerity of this approach is clearly
                               as echoed in the emphasis on “soft skills”        the product of a strong interest among
                               and in phrases such as “values based” and         company executives and board members
                               “whole person,” underscores the cultural          in the improvement of socio-economic
                               appropriateness upon which the Aboriginal         circumstances in the Aboriginal community.
                               employment strategy is based.                     These Aboriginal hiring strategies are for
                                                                                 the most part a function of the attitudes
                               OTHER STRENGTHS
                                                                                 of those in the upper echelons of financial
                                Other outstanding aspects of the
                                                                                 institutions. One can hope that efforts to
                               employment strategy include:
                                                                                 increase awareness among banking sector
                               • a workplace mentorship program wherein          executives of the socio-economic conditions
                                 new Aboriginal employees are provided           within Aboriginal communities and also of
                                 with a (usually Aboriginal) “on-call            the availability of a skilled Aboriginal labour
                                 buddy”                                          pool will foster the creation of Aboriginal
                               • the contracting of an Aboriginal                employment strategies as genuine as that of
                                 consultant to ensure that policies are          Assiniboine Credit Union.
                                 “culturally sensitive and free of barriers to
                                 employment”                                       This is one of a series of reports published
                                                                                   by the Canadian Centre for Policy
                               • the participation of all employees in             Alternatives-Manitoba, based on the
                                 diversity, cross-cultural awareness, and          research conducted by the Manitoba
                                 anti-racism workshops                             Research Alliance on Community
                                                                                   Economic Development in the New
                               • the creation of an Aboriginal employee            Economy. We are pleased to acknowledge
                                 support group                                     the generous financial support of the
                                                                                   Social Sciences and Humanities Research
                                 The Assiniboine Credit Union Aboriginal
                                                                                   Council, grant # 502-2005-0006. The
                               Employment Strategy is admirable for its
                                                                                   full reports are available online atwww.
                               wide network of contacts in the Aboriginal          policyalternatives.ca,
                               community. The company perceives the

   • 4 •           Summer 2006                                                   Aboriginal people in the banking industry

								
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