News / Ottawa

Indigenous government workers increasingly ready to walk: Survey

Disheartened by lack of role models in federal government, shortage of advancement opportunities, and low respect for Indigenous culture, many public servants planning to leave.

Indigenous people who work in the public service are more likely to consider leaving the job than they were in 2014.

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Indigenous people who work in the public service are more likely to consider leaving the job than they were in 2014.

Research commissioned by the federal government shows 40 per cent of Indigenous public servants are considering leaving their jobs in the next two to three years, up considerably since 2014.

The Quorus Consulting Group did the research earlier this year surveying more than 2,000 public servants who identify as Indigenous as well as a smaller number of Indigenous people who had recently left jobs with government.

It found that within the next two to three years, 40 per cent of Indigenous public servants see themselves leaving their current job. In 2014, when the government last did this survey the number was 26 per cent.

According to the survey, 36 per cent of Indigenous people were concerned they didn’t have a possibility of career advancement, which was part of why they were considering leaving.

“The lack of access to learning and development opportunities was found to be a contributing factor to the decision among former respondents to leave and as impacting the upward mobility of current Indigenous employees,” the survey said. “Many of those consulted reinforced the need for more Indigenous employees in the senior ranks of the federal public service.”

The survey also found that 25 per cent of Indigenous public servants joined specifically because they wanted to help people in their community. That number was higher among the people who had left where 51 per cent reported that as a motiviation.

The survey found that 18 per cent of current employees didn’t feel there was respect for Indigenous culture in the workplace and 41 per cent of those who had left the job felt that way.

Jean-Luc Ferland, press secretary to Treasury Board president Scott Brison said they know there is more work to be done.

“It is in the best interest of all Canadians that we build a public service that reflects the diversity of our country,” he said in an email. “There is still a lot of work to do in terms of recruitment and retention of Indigenous employees.”

Ferland highlighted student programs and other measures designed to bring in more Indigenous people to the public service and said they plan to do more in the future.

“We will continue to recruit and develop a new generation of public servants who fully reflect Canada’s extensive diversity to better serve Canadians.”

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