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Workplace Diversity and Inclusivity (A)

A majority of Canadians feel their workplaces are inclusive, though younger Canadians and visible minority Canadians are less sure. Visible minority Canadians are also much more likely than others to say they have felt uncomfortable or out of place in their workplace because of who they are.

 

The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) has released findings of a survey conducted by Environics Research Group asking Canadians about their job satisfaction, their perceptions about their workplaces and performance management, and the tools and resources they turn to when looking for a job or building a career. This project is a follow-up to a benchmark initiative completed in 2007 that asked similar questions. This article is an excerpt from the 2011 survey report.

As the Canadian population has become more ethnically and culturally diverse, Canadian organizations have grappled with how to promote greater diversity in their workplaces – with varying degrees of success. The 2010 CERIC survey asked Canadians whether or not they would describe their workplace as inclusive (i.e., as a place where employees are treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the workplace without discrimination). The survey also asked Canadians if they ever feel out of place in their workplace because of their ethnicity, culture, race, skin colour, class, language, accent, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Canadians generally describe their workplace as at least somewhat inclusive. A majority feel their workplace is either very (39%) or somewhat (43%) inclusive, with few who feel their workplace is not very (13%) or not at all (5%) inclusive. While the youngest Canadians (18-24 years) are among the most positive about their workplaces’ inclusivity, those Canadians in the next age cohort (25-34 years) are more likely than others to describe their workplace as somewhat inclusive. This greater ambivalence may reflect the higher incidence of job dissatisfaction and disconnection experienced by this group of Canadians in the workplace.

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Q.27 Would you describe your work place as inclusive? That is, all employees are treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the workplace without discrimination. Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

Time spent with an organization also appears to foster more ambivalence. Canadians who have worked for their current employer for two years or less are among the most likely to describe their workplace as very inclusive, a less common perception among Canadians with longer tenures. Most notably, visible minority Canadians are least likely to describe their workplace as very inclusive (28%, compared to 41% of non-visible minority Canadians). They are clearly less convinced than their non-visible minority colleagues that their workplace treats all with respect; though, like other Canadians, few visible minority Canadians characterize their workplace as not inclusive.

Workplace inclusivity by visible minority status

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Q.27 Would you describe your work place as inclusive? That is, all employees are treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the workplace without discrimination. Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

Workplace inclusivity is also closely connected to overall job satisfaction and optimism about an individual’s ability to meet his or her career goals. Job satisfaction rises to nine in ten (91%) among those who describe their organizations as very inclusive and drops to only one-quarter (27%) among those who describe their organizations as not at all inclusive. Improving workplace inclusivity is of vital importance to employers, as their workers’ overall satisfaction is likely to improve as well. This is of particular interest to employers of unskilled workers, because nearly four in ten (37%) report that their workplaces are not inclusive.

Canadians who are the most confident about their ability to meet their career goals are also the most positive about the degree to which their organizations treat workers with respect. Those who are optimistic about meeting their career goals are more likely than others to rate their organizations as inclusive (85%, compared to 67%).

Read the full report, “On-line survey on public perceptions about career development and the workplace”, on the CERIC website.

 

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