Visible Minorities Recruitment and the Canadian Armed Forces

By Phyllis Browne.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

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This paper analyzes the key findings of a study that examines the low representation of visible minorities in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the reluctance of this population to make the CAF a career choice. The study addressed the CAF’s ability to comply with the Employment Equity (EE) Act, which stipulates that the representation of four designated group members (DGMs, i.e., women, Aboriginals, visible minorities and persons with disabilities) in the CAF’s internal labour force be commensurate with their external labour force participation. The study indicates that visible minorities do not perceive the CAF as a viable career choice, preferring careers in professions such as engineering, business, law, medicine, or entrepreneurship. Visible minority populations also perceive the military as a low status profession, and postings and deployment are seen as inconsistent with the lifestyle of these close-knit families and communities. These findings suggest that culture of origin plays a significant role in visible minorities’ perception of the military and will continue to influence the CAF’s ability to recruit from within these populations unless there are changes in their cultural norms. Even with new recruitment strategies and outreach initiatives, the CAF may continue to encounter challenges in achieving the representation of visible minorities required by the EE Act.

Keywords: Visible Minorities, Canadian Forces, Employment Equity Act and Compliance, Diversity, Recruitment, Designated Groups, Cultural Communities and the Military

International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 306.378KB).

Dr. Phyllis Browne

Defence Scientist, Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, Department of National Defence, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Phyllis Browne is a Defence Scientist with the Department of National Defence and is assigned to the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis. Her main areas of expertise are socialization, employment equity, diversity, labour markets, gender issues and education. Two of her major studies for her division are a comprehensive study entitled The Socialization of Officer Cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada; and The Profession of Arms and the Military Factor. Her current research includes a three-year study that she is conducting on visible minorities recruitment and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), in order to better understand the reasons for their low representation rates in the CAF’s internal labour force; their career decision-making behaviours; and the impact, if any, of their culture of origin on career choice. She has reviewed books, co-authored book chapters and co-edited a book, has written research papers for her division and has presented results of her research at national and international conferences. Dr. Browne has a PhD in sociology.