Recognized as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2024):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 22, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why McMaster University was selected as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2024):
- McMaster University helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance services along with a defined benefit pension plan -- and some employees have the option of transitioning into retirement smoothly with phased-in retirement work options
- McMaster University supports positive mental health through expanded coverage of mental health practitioners as part of its benefits plan (providers include clinical counsellors, licensed marriage and family counsellors, and psychotherapists) and a dedicated mental health site with resources and supports for students, staff and faculty
- McMaster University offers hybrid and flexible work arrangements as well as a variety of onsite amenities when working on campus -- resources include a community garden, green house and extensive fitness facilities (with subsidized memberships for family members) such as a climbing wall, outdoor track, outdoor fitness circuit, pool, dance studio, squash courts and much more
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2023):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 6, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why McMaster University was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2023):
- McMaster University created an employment equity facilitator program to support all hiring processes, act as process consultants and ensure equitable outcomes -- currently, the organization employs over 250 facilitators who serve or consult on various search committees
- In collaboration with Indigenous groups, the Indigenous Education Council and McMaster Indigenous Research Institute, McMaster University recently developed new Indigenous Strategic Directions to advance reconciliation -- the strategy will act as a guide for the university with four main goals of research, education, student experience, leadership and governance
McMaster University is committed to equity everywhere
Not long before the pandemic hit, a delegation from McMaster University visited what was then the Immigrant Women’s Centre in Hamilton, Ont., to encourage new arrivals in Canada to consider the university as a place to find a job.
“McMaster is a major top employer in the Hamilton/Niagara region that includes various career paths, from professors to IT to landscaping,” says Melanie Garaffa, associate director, talent, equity and development. “It is our responsibility to help students, new immigrants and our external communities know about opportunities here and understand the process of applying for positions.”
That kind of granular outreach is emblematic of McMaster’s commitment to diversifying its workforce and embedding equity in everything it does. Garaffa, whose portfolio includes employment equity at the university, says building community partnerships with what is now the Immigrants Working Centre, for example, has resulted in many new hires at the university and regular partnership opportunities with this community. McMaster has also partnered with Indigenous Link, Pride at Work Canada and other organizations to share job listings, with more to come.
The result is an increasingly broad-based workforce. “When I came here in 2021, there was much more diversity than I was imagining,” says Saher Fazilat, vice-president, operations and finance, whose responsibilities include human resources. She says she was attracted to the job because the university’s new strategic plan emphasized equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in all areas of operation.
“Being an immigrant myself, EDI is a very close-to-heart topic to me,” says the India-born former civil engineer. “Of the five pillars in the strategic plan, three very deeply touch EDI, including inclusive excellence; operational excellence; and engaging local, national, Indigenous and global communities.”
She notes that in one of her areas, finance, over 60 per cent of McMaster employees are female.
“Finance used to be a very male-driven environment, and often still is,” she says. Moreover, she adds, “if you look at my assistant vice-presidents, all of them are women – the chief technology officer, the chief facilities officer, the chief financial officer and the chief human resources officer.”
Garaffa’s role involves advancing initiatives in employment equity so it is part of McMaster culture.
“Diverse, equitable and inclusive practice is critical in everything we do, whether it’s our programming, our policies and our procedures,” she says.
That includes a deep commitment to fairness in hiring practices. “We are working to ensure that the interview process is a great employee experience,” says Garaffa. That can include ensuring diversity on the interview panel, providing interview questions in advance, making accommodations for disabilities and ensuring transparency throughout. Moreover, “we encourage interviews to include both job-specific and institutional-specific questions to reinforce our university priorities and commitments, so we do ask candidates about how they would advance inclusive excellence.”
The university has also set up a network of more than 300 trained employment equity facilitators operating across the campus, who consult on recruitment practices and point out ways to enhance the process using an equitable, diverse and inclusive lens.
It’s another example of how McMaster continues to build capacity and collaborate, notes Garaffa. “I’ve never been part of an organization that is so collaborative,” she says. “It is critical that we have diverse perspectives at the table. When diversity is embraced, different perspectives are heard, included, and become part of our solutions.”