Reaching Diverse Candidates Challenging for Some Companies
Although there has been a steady increase in the proportion of Canadian companies that have implemented a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policy, most Canadian companies do not have one according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.
Forty percent of Canadian companies report having a diversity, equity and inclusion policy, up from 35% in the second half of 2020. Another 1 in 5 companies plan to implement such a policy (17%). Of those planning to do so, 9% say they plan to implement one by the end of this year. Large companies (58%) are more than twice as likely than small businesses (26%) to have a DEI policy.
Canadian companies are significantly behind those in the United States, where 54% of companies report having a DEI policy in place.
Furthermore, despite continuing labour shortages, nearly half of Canadian companies surveyed (46%) do not plan to actively recruit candidates outside of their traditional demographic (e.g., having unique backgrounds, racially/ethnically diverse). Around a third (34%) say their company is planning to take such steps in 2022.
About 1 in 6 Canadian hiring decision-makers (16%) say reaching diverse candidates is one of the biggest hiring challenges their company will face over the next year.
According to Hanif Hemani, an Express franchise owner in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, implementing a diversity, equity and inclusion policy can have many benefits for companies.
“It is important that companies’ employees demographically represent the communities they operate in, not only from an ‘optics’ standpoint, but also from an opportunity standpoint,” said Hemani. “The opportunity is to tap into new ways, new thinking and new markets. There is a very talented pool of individuals that have been under-resourced and under-used in the past.”
He says the tight labour market has caused some businesses to look at candidates they may not have considered in the past.
“More businesses are developing robust DEI policies and, in many cases, labour dynamics have driven some of this change,” said Hemani. “The war on talent has created opportunities for individuals not traditionally part of the workforce of many companies.”
While it’s encouraging to see an increase in businesses developing DEI plans, Hemani says it’s important companies follow through on them.
“While employers are adopting DEI plans, it seems that many of the targets set are still not being consistently met,” said Hemani. “Companies are taking steps in the right direction, but there is still far to go.”
“It’s encouraging to see more companies adopting diversity, equity and inclusion policies to create workforces reflective of our society,” Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller said. “Everyone deserves to feel heard and represented in their career as part of collaborative company cultures.”
The survey was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between Nov. 10 and Dec. 2, 2021, among 510 Canadian hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in Canada who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than one employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.
The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between Nov. 10 and Dec. 2, 2021, among 1,009 U.S. hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the U.S. who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than one employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.