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Toward representative bureaucracy: Predicting public service attraction among underrepresented groups in Canada

To deliver truly representative and effective democratic governance, a public service (PS) should employ individuals from diverse backgrounds throughout its workforce. In the Canadian government, patterns of underrepresentation persist for each of the four employment equity (EE) groups. This study explores three questions: First, are there differences between the four EE groups in terms of their attraction to jobs in the public sector? Second, what are key work values that predict PS attraction? Third, do EE groups differ in terms of these key work values? Based on a large-scale survey of more than 12,000 final-year Canadian postsecondary students, results indicate that women, Aboriginals, and persons with disabilities report higher levels of PS attraction than visible minorities. Work values such as job security, commitment to social responsibility, benefits, and commitment to diversity were strongly associated with PS attraction, and EE groups differed in their evaluations of the relative importance of these work values.