- Immigrants are under-employed in Canada. Not only do they earn 85% of what Canadian born workers earn in spite of having higher levels of education, they also face barriers to career advancement.
- Visible minorities were 18% of the population in 2008 but account for a much smaller percentage of leaders. They are less likely to believe that their workplace is fair and equitable.
- The gender wage gap persists: In 1980, women earned 60.2% of men’s wages; now, women earn 81% of men’s wages.
- Aboriginal peoples could add $71 million to the Canadian economy by 2017 if educational gaps were eliminated.
- Research shows that 36% gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered (GLBT) employees who experience discrimination will change careers. In addition, 74% of GLBT and 42% of straight consumers are less likely to buy from organizations with negative views of GLBT persons.
- According to the 2006 census, an estimated 14.3% of the population has some form of disability. Failing to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities can negatively affect corporate reputation and performance.
The CEO of IBM initiated a diversity task-force to “uncover and understand differences and find ways to appeal to a broader set of employees and customers”. Since then, the number of female executives in the company has grown by 370%, ethnic minority executives have jumped 233% and the number of self-identified gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender executives grew 733%.
- David Thomas, IBM finds profit in diversity, Sept 27, 2004
Have leaders who are explicit about diversity
“… I am physically incapable of leading an organization that is at odds with my own beliefs about fundamental human rights and respect for each other. I don’t want people to feel they have to hide who they are because they’re afraid we’ll discriminate against them.”
- Ed Clark, President & CEO, TD Bank Financial Group
Build a culture which respects diversity
“I am respected, accepted and treated fairly.” At KPMG, the goal is to provide a work environment of inclusiveness for all its employees, regardless of culture, race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, family status, age, disability, or religion. KPMG suggests six key leverage areas:
- Making diversity a strategic business priority for KPMG;
- Developing an accountability framework around diversity;
- Increasing levels of inclusionary behaviour;
- Developing mentoring/networking programs;
- Strengthening and expanding our career management systems and processes; and
- Educating and re-shaping norms around work/life balance issues.