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Effectively managing diversity and inclusion is a strategic imperative for all Canadian employers. It helps to attract and retain the best talent, and to draw customers, clients, shareholders and other stakeholder groups. Employers are better prepared to operate and succeed within the rapidly changing landscape, both now and in the years ahead.
Diversity in BC
BC has a diverse population that continues to evolve:
- 35,000+ new immigrants arrive each year (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2015)
- 6% of the total population is foreign-born (Statistics Canada, 2011)
- 5% of the total population is Aboriginal (Aboriginal Census, 2006)
- 5% of the total population speaks a non-official language as their mother tongue (Statistics Canada, 2011)
Our population is destined to become even more diverse. According to the BC 2022 Labour Market Outlook, over one million job openings are expected across BC. Migrants will be a source of new labour supply and are expected to fill one-third of the total projected job openings.
There are many other forms of diversity that also need to be considered, such as age, ability, gender and sexual orientation.
Benefits for Employers
Current research suggests that businesses, institutions and organizations with diversity in their leadership and workforce have a competitive advantage over those that lack diversity, including:
- Greater market share
“Employees of firms with 2-D diversity* are 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.” (Harvard Business Review, 2013)
- Improved employee attraction, retention and engagement
“Organizations that don’t support and nurture a diverse workplace may be able to recruit diverse talent but will face major challenges when trying to retain it.” (HR council, 2015)
- Increased Innovation and Creativity
“Senior executives are recognizing that a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas.” (Forbes Insights, 2011)
*2-D diversity refers to two-dimensional diversity – inherent diversity (traits you were born with and have consequently been conditioned by, such as gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation) and acquired diversity (how you act as a result of what you’ve experienced or learned)
An Inclusive Approach
Simple exposure to diversity does not produce positive results. It’s not natural for people of different cultural backgrounds, religious or moral upbringings, cognitive styles, or even genders or sexual orientations to communicate or work together effectively. It requires an inclusive approach to be of benefit with progress and change being measured over time.