More than 50% of Canadians see discrimination in the workplace according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, Beyond Good Intentions: Bringing an Employee Lens to Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Canada, looks at the workplace experience of diverse employees in Canada.
Discrimination common in Canadian workplaces
In a survey of more than 5,000 employees, BCG found that significant numbers of employees who identify as diverse feel that they experience workplace bias and barriers to advancement. Specifically, “One-third of women, LGBTQ2, people of colour, indigenous and disabled employees say they face persistent obstacles to recruitment, retention, and advancement.” Overall, half of employees who identify with one or more diversity groups feel that workplace bias is common. Moreover, those from majority groups often fail to notice the obstacles perceived by diverse employees.
The report stresses the importance of leadership commitment and ally culture and states that Canadian companies have room to improve on both measures. Nearly half of diverse respondents report seeing inconsistent commitment from leadership and less than half of diverse employees feel supported by “allies” at work, an ally being defined as an individual who actively supports “the inclusion and advancement of colleagues from diverse backgrounds.”
“A wake-up call”
The BCG says its report is “a wake-up call” for Canadian leaders.
Kathleen Polsinello, a Toronto-based managing director and partner at BCG and a co-author of the report, said in a statement, “The data on the importance of allyship is particularly interesting. We found diverse employees who have allies are twice as likely to say their day-to-day experience is bias-free compared to those who do not. Given the importance of colleague commitment, we hope all Canadians, not just corporate leaders, will see a call to action in our report.”
Findings corroborate those of another study
The findings echo that of another recent report finding that 61% or about three in five employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity in the workplace. The online study polled more than 1,100 workers in the US, UK, France and Germany. Among the key findings were the following:
- U.S. workers have experienced or witnessed discrimination (61%) more than those in the UK (55%), France (43%) and Germany (37%).
- 42% of U.S. workers have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace.
- Ageism is the most experienced or witnessed form of discrimination in the U.S. (45%) and the UK (39%), while gender is the most experienced or witnessed form of discrimination in France (30%) and Germany (24%).
- 50% of employees across all four countries believe their employer should do more to increase diversity and inclusion.
Workplace diversity matters to talent
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (aka. DEI) are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, and not just because accepting others is the right thing to be. Another recent survey found that diversity and inclusion are a top priority to more than 86% of job seekers when considering whether to work for a company.
According to the survey, millennials and Generation X put a higher value on workplace diversity than other generations. Millennials are also likely to remain nearly twice as long as their average of 2.8 years with a company that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion.
Read more: Workplace diversity benefits the bottom line