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Visible Minorities Represent a Critical and Underutilized Workforce Segment that Could Be Key to Canada’s Economic Future

Catalyst visible minority research study provides clear recommendations on implementing diversity practices based on proven success in corporate Canada

Canadian corporations cannot afford to underutilize the nation’s diverse talent pool—especially as Canadian business faces a turbulent economy and the need to maximize and leverage the best talent from an increasingly diverse workforce. This, according to Catalyst, whose fifth and final report of a groundbreaking research series on visible minorities in corporate Canada has uncovered the gap that exists between organizations’ intentions to create inclusive opportunities for its visible minority talent and career satisfaction among visible minority managers, professionals, and executives.

In this final report, Career Advancement in Corporate Canada: A Focus on Visible Minorities ~ Diversity and Inclusion Practices, Catalyst helps businesses bridge the opportunity gap by offering concrete examples of successful talent management practices that can improve engagement and career satisfaction among visible minorities and help develop, attract, and retain key talent.

“When you consider that talent management practices, such as mentoring, employee networks and diversity training for managers, increase career satisfaction scores for visible minorities by up to 22 percent, the ROI for Canadian businesses is clear,” said Deborah Gillis, Vice President, North America, Catalyst. “Still, fewer than half of the employers surveyed reported policies and practices that address the concerns of visible minorities. By following the lead of the organizations and examples in this report, Canadian businesses can take an important leap forward in their support of diversity and inclusion and ultimately strengthen their competitive position.”

“Embracing a diverse workforce is a rich part of Canada’s economic history and now is the ideal time to leverage this national competitive advantage,” said Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer at RBC, the lead sponsor of the study. “Canadian companies have grown by welcoming the talent and ingenuity of diverse, smart, and energetic people from all over the world. Employers who take steps to eliminate the barriers facing visible minorities not only reflect the increasingly multicultural landscape of their client base, they attract and retain the talent they need for business success.”

According to Catalyst, Canadian organizations can learn from the experience of corporations with successful diversity and talent management practices to help improve career satisfaction for visible minorities and strengthen their bottom line.

To this end, Catalyst recommends:

  • Incorporating diversity and inclusion considerations into talent management processes, such as recruiting and promoting practices, as RBC does with its diversity recruitment team, to offer equal opportunity to all employees seeking career advancement. Not only does RBC have specific visible minority outreach efforts, it strives for a diverse slate of candidates for senior level job openings.
  • Encouraging open dialogue to address sensitive issues, including race and ethnicities. Enhancing the exposure of visible minority employees to potential mentors and champions within the organization. Programs like RBC’s “diversity dialogues” provide mentoring with senior executives.
  • Creating an inclusive environment where managers understand and respect employees cultural differences as IBM Canada has done with its “Mindsets” manager training program.
  • Introduce critical relationship networks like IBM Canada’s Diversity Network Groups that provide employees with access to senior-level executives and employees from other departments and backgrounds.
  • Help influence business partners who implement daily talent management practices by appointing a senior-level diversity and inclusion executive as Deloitte & Touche LLP Canada has done through its Chief Diversity Officer position.

RBC is the study’s lead sponsor. Deloitte and IBM Canada are the participating sponsors. The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is the supporting sponsor.

For more information, contact Charmain Emerson, Building Blocks Communications, 416-588-8514 or 416-857-9401, [email protected], or Susan Nierenberg, Catalyst, 646-388-7744, [email protected].

Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and more than 400 preeeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women’s advancement with the Catalyst Award.