Colleagues, I'll call the meeting to order. We're meeting today to continue our study on the hiring process in the public service.
Because of the fact we had votes earlier, we lost about 40 minutes. To try to gain some of that time back and allow as many questions as possible by committee members, we're going to combine the two panels into one. Originally we had representatives from the Public Service Commission and Treasury Board Secretariat scheduled for 3:30 to 4:30, followed by the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women and LinkedIn from 4:30 to 5:30. However, given the fact that the bells will start to ring at 5:15, slightly more than an hour from now, to try to save a little time and allow more time for questions by all of our colleagues around this table, with your concurrence, I'm going to start with the panellists who were originally scheduled to start at 4:30. We'll start with Mr. Page, followed by Madam Stinson. Then we will have opening statements by Monsieur Fleury and Monsieur Borbey. I'll get into that a little later when it's their turn to take the stage.
Seeing no disagreement with that, Mr. Page, we'll start with your opening statement. Go ahead, sir, the floor is yours.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you today. I'll keep my opening remarks brief. I imagine there are varying levels of knowledge about LinkedIn here today, so I'll start with an overview.
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional social network with over 610 million members worldwide. Members use LinkedIn for a variety of reasons, but three core reasons are to get the right job, build meaningful relationships and stay well-informed. This means LinkedIn members want to know about the available jobs that fit their background and interests; stay in touch and make new connections with people professionally; and keep up to date on what is happening within their industry and profession through news, content and their network of connections. An individual's LinkedIn profile is often considered to be their professional profile of record.
Specifically in Canada, there are over 15 million members on our platform. For context, there are approximately 18 million individuals employed in the Canadian workforce. On LinkedIn in Canada, there are also 800,000 companies and 25,000 educational institutions represented, over 400,000 jobs posted currently and 50,000 skills within our skills ontology. The aggregate of this information in Canada and globally is what we refer to as the “economic graph”, or what we view as a digital representation of the economy.
As a company our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. From a day-to-day perspective, this is operationalized by devoting much of our organizational efforts toward bringing together people, skills and jobs in various ways.
In Canada, beyond being the largest professional network, LinkedIn is also the largest job board and the largest skills-focused online learning platform, with over 13,000 courses comprising hundreds of thousands of videos, ranging from how to prepare for a job interview through to Google-endorsed Android developer certification courses.
Another way we strive to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce is through our economic graph projects. These are pro bono partnerships wherein LinkedIn partners with government and related organizations, typically for the purpose of labour market analysis. Globally we have worked with the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, among many others. Within Canada we have partnered with the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of International Trade and, most recently, the LMIC or Labour Market Information Council on an analysis of skills that are most in demand in Canada.
Most related to today's context, LinkedIn is one of of the largest, if not the largest, recruitment services company in the world. Our Talent Solutions products are the largest area of LinkedIn's business. In that capacity, we work with organizations to support their ability to attract and retain the talent they need for their organization to be successful.
Understanding that the federal public service must often operate on a scale unique to itself within Canada, from a LinkedIn perspective we are very accustomed to supporting large organizations, as referenced by the fact that 100% of the Fortune 100 companies and over 95% of the Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn Talent Solutions clients.
Based on review of previous testimony at this committee and discussions across the federal public service, I understand that some of the challenges and aspirations of the public service's hiring process include the length of the hiring process, the intense competition for talent, the need to attract millennials and youth, the desire to modernize and move beyond traditional approaches, the need to communicate external job opportunities more effectively to attract diverse talent pools and passive candidates, the use of technology to match candidates and jobs, and better labour market information for HR and hiring managers.
During the questions, I would be pleased to address how LinkedIn can assist the Government of Canada in addressing these issues.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear here today. I am not going to address the range of issues my colleague just identified, but rather one key issue in particular, the growth of precarious employment in the federal public service.
I urge this committee to deal with this issue. It's important for many reasons, and one is that it has a lot to do with equity for women and, as our research is suggesting, particularly for racialized women.
As you probably know, women make up over half of the federal public service workers, which has tended to represent better jobs for women compared with the private sector, especially for marginalized women. The growth in precarious employment is really troubling because it does start to undermine—indeed, is undermining—steps towards equity and gender equality.
I have been analyzing precarious or casualized employment in the public sector for many years. I think we're probably all familiar with the concept. It's the loss of full-time, stable employment in favour of many forms of less stable employment, usually with less pay and lacking the same benefit coverage, such as health benefits, pensions, and so on.
I want to share some findings of some recent research that CRIAW has conducted on what's been happening to different groups of women within the federal public service.
We recognize women's diversity and therefore use what's called an “intersectional lens” to try to identify and tease out differential impacts on different groups of women. Our study is from 2005 to 2014. We got special data runs from the public service employee survey. We analyzed that, and we've been publishing some of the results.
I tried to update it, but it wasn't easy to get this data, which leads me to the issue of the need for greater transparency in having information publicly available on this key employment indicator.
What we do know from our research from 2005 to 2014 is that the number of women in non-permanent positions has grown steadily in the federal public service over that period of time. As well, the number of permanent positions for all women fell by about 6%. Aboriginal women, racialized women, disabled women, and able-bodied white women have all experienced an increase in non-permanent or precarious employment during this time, some groups more than others.
Our data analysis indicated that racialized women, or those who are considered visible minorities—the category StatsCan uses—experienced the sharpest increase in precarious employment, a 21% jump from 2005 to 2014. Also, they are more likely than any other group of women to hold non-permanent positions in each of the profile years and so are being adversely affected disproportionally by policies that favour the growth of precarious employment and the loss of permanent and more stable jobs in the federal public service. Able-bodied white women also experienced a decline in permanent employment. The numbers are significant because they are the majority of women who work in the federal government.
This trend towards greater precarity is troubling, and I think you know why. The ILO, for example, has associated it with inadequate rights and protection at work and lower wages and benefits. There are also lots of studies that show there are greater health and safety risks when there is a higher level of precarity—in particular, things like the risk of bullying, more aggression in the workplace and more harassment. Historically, it's particularly disadvantaged groups who have suffered the most from that.
It's not just about workers. Clearly, that's important, but there is also evidence that growing precarity in the public sector means that services decline in quality, in availability, in reliability and in terms of other indicators.
I'm sure you've heard before that it's hard to attract and retain the best and the brightest when you can't offer permanent and stable employment. It's equally hard for those workers to try to plan their futures, especially the young workers you may be wanting to attract to the federal public service.
There needs to be a commitment to full-time employment. There need to be incentives, and there need to be requirements that more full-time, permanent jobs be created.
As it stands right now, there is an economic incentive to create precarious jobs, because those contract, term and temporary jobs are usually cheaper. There is a big financial savings for the employer, but there is a huge cost to workers, not only in their pocketbooks but in their lives. There's evidence of the impacts it has on people's lives, their families and communities.
I'm suggesting and urging that you encourage the adoption of different incentives and requirements to change this trend. The first is to have the federal government make a formal, written commitment to create full-time, permanent jobs where practicable. That's something that should be negotiated between Treasury Board and the unions. The goal should be that we want to maximize those opportunities.
Secondly, all casual, contract, temporary and part-time employees should receive the same level of benefits so there will no more financial incentive in government to get contract employees because they're cheaper, and to improve the quality of their lives as well.
Thirdly, there should be a requirement for more annual reporting on changes in employment status in this category of the public sector. It's really important. It should be there in the public highlights of the public service employee employment survey and in the Employment Equity Act and the federal contractors program. Departments should be required to monitor and publish data in a way that would allow for actual transparency about what's happening with this really important employment indicator.
Finally, the data really should be published using an intersectional analysis. The federal government and StatsCan are increasingly moving to this more fine-grained level of analysis. It's broken down by gender and by different groups within the gender, so that we can better monitor the equity implications of precarious employment.
Thank you very much.
Colleagues, the difficulty we are having here is the fact that we have Mr. Borbey's opening statement and comments in both official languages, but not Monsieur Fleury's. Oh, we have them now. We'll be distributing those as I speak.
Colleagues, to save a little time I'm going to suggest a process that we have used recently, namely, that the speaking notes presented by both Monsieur Fleury and Monsieur Borbey be considered and taken as read and appended to the evidence of today's meeting. What that will do, then, is allow more time for questions.
The opening comments, which you are going to be receiving momentarily, will be in your possession.
[See appendix—Remarks by Patrick Borbey]
[See appendix—Remarks by Jean-François Fleury]
Yes. We measure and track both. On average, it's a little bit shorter, I think about 10 days shorter, for an internal process.
But again, those are advertized processes. If you're hiring from a priority, if you're hiring a former student, if you're hiring through the post-secondary recruitment program that our department offers, it can be much shorter than that. There are lot of other mechanisms.
With the 197 or 180 days, we are talking about the most lengthy processes, the most complex processes, and therefore it's normal that they take a lot longer.
But we have processes that can take.... Madam Poliquin ran a process that took 30 days. There's a wide range in terms of.... Again, if managers are focused, if there is no downtime when the file lands on their desk, if they immediately pay attention, if they use the most efficient assessment tools, they can certainly cut a lot of that time.
The devil is always in the details.
When I looked at what's included in the PSES employment status, it does say “Contracted via temporary help services agency”. It also refers to term employees, which is, I think, often another form of contract employment.
Yes, it does include contracted out services. I'm not sure whether it's an underestimate or not. I think you'd need to look a little more carefully as it, but it does include some of those categories.
Also, one of the issues that does exist is that the budget estimates for the past year would mention, say, $40.7 billion allocated to all personnel costs and $13.2 billion of that allocated to professional and special services, a number of which would be contract workers. But it's hard then to get a breakdown of that data to really understand what's going on with the number of jobs where benefits are not...and the rate of pay, etc.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll be sharing my time equally with my colleague Ms. Ratansi.
I'm going to start with Mr. Borbey.
I was looking at the submission you made, and I did some quick calculations. One of the things I noticed is that the percentage of students they hire compared with the number of applicants is very, very low. Under the PSR program it's about 16.5%, or 711 out of 4,300, as you mentioned. Under the RPL program it's 21 out of 1,500. I understand that the level of expertise needed under the RPL is very different. I just did some rough calculations based on the number of 13,000 that are hired versus what you mentioned in your response to one of the questions, that there are roughly about 72,000 applicants. The percentage comes to about 18.5%. These are very low numbers.
I understand that we've gone from 197 to 181.
Why are we not recruiting? Are these people not available by the time we get to them? What's the reason these numbers are so low?
I think there are a number of reasons why we're not maximizing the use of these inventories. I would just like to clarify that there's the number of applicants, but then we use that number when they start meeting the merit criteria. For example, for PSR, we go from 17,000 applicants to about 5,000 candidates whom we deem qualified and place in these inventories. That said, 711 is still not the number we're looking to achieve.
I think there are a number of reasons why they're not using it as much. First, I think the DNA of our hiring managers is about looking inside first. Even for entry-level positions, they're looking to hire within their own organizations. Going outside is not a muscle that has been developed just yet, and we are nudging the system to get there.
There's also more of a tendency to post one job for one position. Managers tend to have a number of set criteria for a position, and expanding it to make it generic is still not something they're familiar with. When we have these inventories that are entry-level positions, for PSR for example, they have very few requirements to meet because they're entry-level jobs. Managers haven't shifted their paradigms to recruit this way. Again, we need to nudge the system and train them to use the system.
Finally, it's about just being familiar with the programs. The Public Service Commission is continuing to do outreach with the hiring community to make sure they maximize the use of the programs we have.
In terms of supporting women not to be in the more precarious positions, there is one giant piece there, which is around hiring contractors. That's something that's often done, because it's felt there is a specialization that certain private organizations can provide to get those people quickly.
By contrast, with the 15 million people on LinkedIn, basically almost any type of talent you would ever want to recruit is there. At scale, with a couple clicks of the button, you can pretty much communicate with them. At this point in time, it's almost never done, other than by a handful of departments, within the federal government.
The vast majority of people who come to the federal government fall into the bucket of the 10% to 30% of the population that is actively seeking a job. Most of the labour force or most employers are looking at those individuals, but also at the 70% to 90% who aren't necessarily going and looking at the GC jobs website or at a job board. The whole mechanism by which LinkedIn works is that it enables you to take those jobs at scale and easily present them to the overall labour market and say “Here are jobs you may be interested in”, as we term it. That allows you to tap into a gigantic pool of people who have very specialized skills but who aren't currently get communicated with.
We have put a special emphasis, particularly when it comes to the IT sector, on attracting more women in our post-secondary recruitment campaign.
About 25% of our computer science workers right now in government are women, so we know we have a gap. The percentage is very similar in universities and colleges that are producing graduates right now.
The pipeline needs to be stronger. This probably starts at the level of young girls, even before they start high school...to continue their studies in STEM. That's an area where there is some activity, some work that's being done to encourage girls to continue to study in this area.
Last year when we established our inventory of about 850 pre-qualified or pre-assessed candidates for computer science jobs, I think we got to about 30% of the applicants who were women. That was quite an effort.
The thing that we are allowed to do under the Public Service Employment Act is to consider employment equity groups first, before other groups. Last year we asked that managers consider first the women who were part of the inventory, before others were considered for potential jobs. That's an example of how we're trying to change that statistic.
Similar kinds of studies or work should be done in the areas related to scientific and technical work, where we also have some gaps.
Between us and the Treasury Board Secretariat, we certainly work very closely on employment equity objectives. We implement the Employment Equity Act.
I want to correct the record a little bit. We have an overrepresentation of women in the public service. Among the candidates for our programs, we have an overrepresentation of women candidates. We are an attractive offer to women—again, notwithstanding the fact that in certain categories it's more difficult, but generally they are overrepresented.
We also find that in all of our processes, whether it's post-secondary recruitment or of students, we typically get about twice as many candidates as are currently represented among visible minorities. We get 30% to 35% of our candidates for our programs who apply. This is one of the reasons we want to see more external recruitment. If we open up externally, we know the candidates are there. We know that we offer them quality opportunities. It's just a matter of opening the doors a little bit more. When we create inventories, the last thing we want is to see those inventories being underutilized.
There are challenges associated with persons with disabilities and indigenous people. We get lower rates of application or lower rates of self-identification through our programs. This is an area we're specifically working on. We've identified two targeted programs, for example, that we've developed over the last number of years to increase the number of persons with disabilities and indigenous people applying and being successfully employed in the federal government. I would remind you that we are also currently overrepresented in both of those categories compared with the labour force.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I was very struck by your presentation, Ms. Stinson. Your statistics were quite eloquent.
First, I'd like to put a question to Mr. Fleury.
I understand why the public service made this change at a certain point and opted for short-term, temporary contracts. It was at a time when we were tightening our belts and trying to find economies of scale everywhere in government.
But since the government realized that this precariousness was growing in scope, have you begun to reverse this and to offer more secure employment, or are you maintaining the same level of precarious employment in the public service?
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I had seven minutes, but I'll have to settle for five.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Francis Drouin: Thank you for being here.
Mr. Borbey, I know you've appeared on many occasions before this committee.
Ms. Stinson, I do have a couple of questions about precarious work and how you define that. I know it's an issue, but I have also met a lot of people who would say, “You'd call me crazy in my generation, but I would never stay in the same spot or even grow within the same organization for 30 years.”
How do you balance that within the Government of Canada, perhaps allowing for people to grow within the Government of Canada, knowing there are various different opportunities?
I would seek your advice. Do you have any advice for those—I won't call them millennials because, as I say, I'm an old millennial, but I look younger—
I'd be curious to find out what the practice in the private sector would be. Again, I don't know what the statistics say, but I know anecdotally that even though they will have financial security, they will still change because they're just bored out of their minds. They can't stand it; they have to go somewhere else.
How do you balance that within the Government of Canada to ensure that there are proper pathways and a path forward in that environment where there is the security in knowing that yes, there is that pension plan at the end of the day when you've worked x number of years within the Government of Canada?
I don't know if there are any barriers to changing from one collective agreement to another.
Mr. Borbey, maybe you want to jump in there.
I'm dealing with a vet on this, but this would actually apply to any Canadian. The vet applied for a job, their resumé accepted, and they went before a hiring board—the 55-day process. There were three of them. They sat there for an hour-and-a-half interview. They passed. They were put in a hiring pool that would to be valid for 90 days. It turns out they really didn't have an opening, but they were looking for candidates in case something opened.
Ninety-five days passed and he saw another opening—this is for a CR-4 level positions—and reapplied, and had to go back before the hiring board again. He was there 94 days ago. He was told he had to do it again.
This time he flunked, even though he had written down the identical questions. Everything's the same, but he flunked and didn't get into the pool.
Why are we creating pools for jobs that don't exist? I'm not blaming you, but why would we have a system where we ask people to go before a hiring board repeatedly? What would change in 91 days that would make someone qualified and then unqualified? It's for the same department and same position.