Employability assets of employees in a diversified workplace

By Karen Rempel and Kim Lemky
November 2016
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What you need to know

Two important employability assets are

  1. identifying as an Indigenous person and
  2. knowing about Indigenous culture.

Employees need to develop and provide accurate and relevant employee resumes.

Core essential skills and knowledge, interpersonal skills and work ethics scored higher than academic credentials for many of the employers who participated in this research.

Why this research is important

Given the demographics of Manitoba in general, and Northern Manitoba in particular, a diversified workplace means that the majority of employees will be of Indigenous ancestry.

This research identified employability assets of Indigenous employees. Employability assets are an individual’s set of skills, knowledge, abilities and personal attributes that enable them to gain initial employment, and, maintain and obtain new employment. Employability assets include academic skills, professional or workplace knowledge, and attitudes, such as interpersonal skills, team work and problem-solving.

How the research was done

The researchers used a modified Delphi process to accumulate, analyze, and subsequently achieve consensus from an expert panel. An expert panel is a critical component of a Delphi process. The experts for this research were 23 human resource managers of organizations from across Canada with an Indigenous workforce.

The researchers started the research by reviewing approximately 40 journal articles, websites, training manuals, as well as internal company documents to develop a long-list of more than 140 employability assets. This list formed the basis of the first round, anonymous, online, Likert-scale survey instrument.

The Expert Panel participated in two rounds of anonymous, online surveys that identified the employability assets for employees working in a diversified workplace.

What the researchers found

The findings from the research resulted in a list of 38 of employability assets of employees working in a workplace employing Indigenous workers.

Some of the most notable employability assets for employees in a diversified workplace were:

  • the emphasis on essential core literacy and numeracy skills, but not necessarily high school, community college or university credentials;
  • the importance of Indigenous identity;
  • the ability to use knowledge, skills and attitudes in a variety of workplace settings;
  • the significance of a resume;
  • the ability to participate as a team member;
  • critical thinking skills to help problem solve;
  • the capacity to work with others; and
  • the demonstration of work ethic and professionalism.

The researchers also found that while knowledge, skills and attitude assets are necessary, they are not sufficient for an individual to sustain and advance in employment. Employability assets also include an individual’s awareness of abilities, limitations, work-place responsibilities, decision-making skills and job-search skills.

How this research can be used

The results of this research provide a list of key employability assets necessary to gain and maintain employment, and obtain new employment if required, specifically for the Northern Manitoba labour market. Employers as well as employment services and education and training organizations can use this information to plan workplace training and education programs. Prospective and current employees can use this information as a guideline to develop their employability assets.

About the Researchers

Karen Rempel

Karen Rempel, Ph.D.


Karen Rempel, Ph.D. (University of Calgary) is the Director of Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies in the Faculty of Education (CARES) at Brandon.

Kim Lemky

Kim Lemky, Ph.D.


Kim Lemky (Ph.D.) (University of Waterloo) is a Research Associate at CARES, Brandon University.


  • diversified workplace
  • employability assets
  • Indigenous
  • Northern Manitoba

Publications Based on the Research

Rempel, K., & Lemky, K. (2016). Employability assets of employees in a diversified workplace: Report to the Expert Panel. Brandon, MB: Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies, Brandon University. www.brandonu.ca/bu-cares/files/2016/11/FinalEmployabilityAssetsDocumentOctober122016-1.pdf

Editor: Christiane Ramsey

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