A new survey from ADP Canada and Maru/Blue demonstrates that Canadians believe their workplaces have room to improve when it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion. Specifically, working Canadians who belong to a visible ethnic minority* reported that, at their current place of work, they have experienced or witnessed more judgement or misconduct based on ethnicity or skin colour, more negative impacts on their career and greater feelings of discomfort in the workplace. However, there are some positives, as the survey also noted greater awareness of these issues among younger workers, with 47% of employed Canadians aged 18 to 34 saying they would be more loyal to their organization if they took a stand, publicly, on diversity and inclusion.

Members of Visible Ethnic Minorities More Likely to State they Witnessed Problematic Behaviours at Work

Of those surveyed, 13% of all working Canadians agreed that they have witnessed or experienced judgement or misconduct at their current workplace based on ethnicity or skin colour. However, 31% of working Canadians belonging to a visible ethnic minority reported such behaviours.

32% of respondents identifying as members of visible ethnic minorities also believe that their ethnicity has negatively impacted their career growth, and 19% saying prejudice or lack of diversity and inclusion based on their ethnicity has influenced their decision to leave an employer. Looking at gender, 19% of working women reported witnessing or experiencing judgement or misconduct based on gender and 22% believe their gender has negatively impacted their career advancement.

Diverse Voices Not Being Heard

25% of working Canadians don’t feel comfortable expressing their opinions at work, those belonging to a visible ethnic or religious minority feel even less comfortable. The same was true for women in the workplace. Additionally, 50% of employed Canadians who belong to a visible ethnic minority believe their background is not represented within the make-up of their management team.

“With visible ethnic and religious minorities reporting more discomfort about sharing their ideas at work, employed Canadians within these communities may not have a strong sense of belonging at work and may not  feel their input is heard when trying to participate in discussions,” said Reetu Bajaj, HR Advisor at ADP Canada. “These same individuals may also perceive that they are not represented within their management team.”

Diversity and Inclusion Becoming a Priority for Workplaces Around the Country 

As best practices, some employers are prioritizing policies and programs on diversity and inclusion. According to the survey, 32% of working Canadians believe that diversity and inclusion are priorities for their organization. When asked how diversity and inclusion were integrated into the corporate culture of their organization, Canadian workers identified composition of the workforce, onboarding and training, and surveys and employee feedback as the primary vehicles. However, 36% of survey respondents felt that while their organization is taking steps in the right direction, diversity and inclusion is still not considered a priority. 

“The fact that respondents who identify as being part of the Canadian cultural majority report being  less likely to experience or identify problematic behaviours in the workplace, indicates that these issues may be more widespread in the workplace than many Canadians think,” said Reetu Bajaj, HR Advisor at ADP Canada. “While our survey also shows that conversations have started in half of Canadian workplaces, employers must be proactive in implementing a diverse and inclusive culture within their organizations to be respectful of human rights.”

Workers aged 18 to 34 and visible ethnic minorities were the most vocal when it came to issues of diversity and inclusion. Top asks from these groups include a more diverse leadership team at their organization (30% and 32% respectively), and more events or initiatives that encourage cultural learning and inclusivity (29% and 27% respectively).

Additional Findings:

  • Younger working Canadians are more likely to have noticed or experienced judgement and misconduct (31% of respondents aged 18-34, compared to only 19% of respondents aged 55+).
  • While 87% of working Canadians said prejudice or lack of diversity and inclusion has never influenced their decision to leave an employer, 19% of those belonging to a visible ethnic minority said prejudice or lack of ethnic diversity has already influenced their decision to leave an employer.
  • 47% of working women indicated they would leave their employer if they found an employee of the same level, but different gender, received higher compensation.
  • Participants were asked about recent events, and what they felt generated the most dialogue within their organization. Many Canadians felt public gatherings within their city generated the most dialogue (24%), followed by action from the Canadian government (19%) and sports teams taking a stand (18%).

Survey Methodology 

An online survey of 1,546 working Canadians (including those working full and part time) was completed between October 23 and 29, 2020, using Maru/Blue’s online panel. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.4%, 19 times out of 20.

*Visible ethnic minorities as reported in the poll include Aboriginal or Indigenous, Black, Afro American or Black Canadian, Asian or Asian Canadian, Arab (North Africa, Middle East, West Asia), Caribbean, Latin, Central and South American and others

Source: Cision News Wire