Why the City of Winnipeg is looking into nameless resumes

By | September 25, 2020

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg city councillor doesn’t want city managers and supervisors to see the names of job seekers anymore.

In a move to boost diversity, Coun. Markus Chambers said the city should implement nameless resumes, so someone’s ethnicity or gender can’t be identified.

“The name should not matter, or the colour of their skin should not matter,” Chambers told CTV News.

He said he’s heard from some prospective hires who felt they did not get a call back for a city job interview – not because they weren’t qualified, but because of their name.

“What they perceive is that their name may identify them from a racialized community,” he said.

In a motion, Chambers said “unconscious bias” can occur when hiring authorities make judgments about job candidates based on race or gender. He said he wants the city to implement nameless resumes for all advertised positions to help boost diversity within the city’s employment ranks.

“You’re just looking at the qualifications and the experience of an individual,” he said.

A recent pilot project from the Canadian government showed mixed results when it came to nameless resumes. It concluded there is no net benefit or disadvantage for visible minorities.

Still, organizational behavior professor Eddy Ng from Bucknell University said the idea has its place.

“It is certainly something I highly encourage, especially when you don’t know where the source of bias comes from,” Ng said.

The motion by Chambers also calls for city supervisors and managers to be educated on unconscious bias and diversity hiring.

The councillor is clear – qualifications still matter.

“It’s not just a matter of hiring for the sake of meeting targets, but hiring the best-qualified individual, and if that qualified individual is a person from a racialized background, then yes, that’s what we should be doing.”

Chambers wants a report back in four months with options to move ahead with a nameless resume process.

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