MA Research Paper


Master of Arts




Dr. Tracey L. Adams


Canada has an extensive history of anti-discrimination legislation to reduce inequality for minority groups, yet, they continue to experience disadvantage. Recent literature has suggested that barriers for minority groups into and within work persists in part because of subtle processes like homophily as individuals develop a preference for similar others. Studies of professions are important because previous studies suggest homophily preferences along dimensions of race and gender are high within professions, contributing to widening inequalities. Engineering provides an excellent case for analysis of homophily within professions, since Statistics Canada data suggests that engineering is among the most common professions for visible minority men in Canada. It is also a profession, wherein few women are employed, and research has identified barriers and discrimination limiting the opportunities of minorities. Homophily preferences and discriminatory workplace practices might be the source of these barriers, reproducing social inequalities. Using the Canadian Workers in the Knowledge Economy Engineering Survey and parallel in-depth interviews, this study employs an explanatory mixed-methods design to explore the role of homophily in reproducing inequalities within engineering. Greater understanding of labour market inequality and how it operates can inform the implementation of more effective policies, in order to reduce labour market inequality.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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