New Insights and Call for Action on Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Canada

TORONTO, ON—BCG’s Centre for Canada’s Future launched a new report today on diversity and inclusion (D&I) that examines the workplace experience of diverse employees in Canada. Beyond Good Intentions: Bringing an Employee Lens to Diversity & Inclusion in Corporate Canada based on a survey of more than 5,000 employees, found that significant numbers of diverse employees still experience barriers to advancement and workplace bias.

“This report is a pulse check on how employees in corporate Canada feel about diversity and inclusion in their workplace,” says Nan DasGupta, a Toronto-based managing director and senior partner at BCG and a coauthor of the report. “Understanding what diverse employees need, not what leaders think they need, is critically important to making progress.”

The survey revealed that one-third of women, LGBTQ2, people of colour, indigenous and disabled employees say they face persistent obstacles to recruitment, retention, and advancement. In addition, individuals from majority groups often fail to perceive the obstacles that diverse employees face. Overall, half of employees who identify with one or more diversity groups say that workplace bias remains a day-to-day reality.

Our research shows that leadership commitment and ally culture make a big difference to the workplace experience of diverse employees, but that Canadian companies have room to improve on both measures. According to the survey, nearly half of diverse respondents say they see inconsistent commitment down through the managerial ranks. In addition, less than half of diverse employees say they have “allies” at work, individuals who actively support the inclusion and advancement of colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

The findings are a wakeup call for Canadian leaders. “The data on the importance of allyship is particularly interesting,” says Kathleen Polsinello, a Toronto-based managing director and partner at BCG and a coauthor of the report. “We found diverse employees who have allies are twice as likely to say their day-to-day experience is bias-free compared with 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. ”