A traffic light on Bay Street in Canada’s financial district is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. A new report says a culture of inequality continues to persist in Canada’s capital markets and the brunt of it is felt by women and people who are racialized, Indigenous or identify as LGBTQ2S+. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A traffic light on Bay Street in Canada’s financial district is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. A new report says a culture of inequality continues to persist in Canada’s capital markets and the brunt of it is felt by women and people who are racialized, Indigenous or identify as LGBTQ2S+. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Inequality in capital markets sector continues to hurt women, BIPOC and LGBTQ: report

Study revealed that Black women were the least likely to say they were treated equally by firm and manager

A culture of inequality continues to persist in Canada’s capital markets sector and the brunt of it is felt by women and people who are racialized, Indigenous or identify as LGBTQ2S+, a new report says.

According to a study of 600 Canadian finance workers conducted by Women in Capital Markets in 2019 and released Wednesday, only half of women believed they are treated equally and have the same access to opportunities as other genders at their firm and just one-third thought their company is free from gender bias and that the promotion process is fair and objective.

Nearly 60 per cent of men said their workplace was free from gender bias, a rate double that of women, and 75 per cent of men believed harassment wasn’t an issue at their employer.

“For corporate Canada, we have a lot of work to do and the most frustrating point is how far we have to go with the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour), LGBTQ community and women more generally. We just have miles to go,” said Camilla Sutton, the president and chief executive of Women in Capital Markets.

The study revealed that Black women were the least likely to say they were treated equally by their firm and manager, and the least likely to perceive they have equal career opportunities. They were most likely to report being afraid for their personal safety at work.

Data also showed that more than half of people identifying as LGBTQ2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or two-spirited) in Canada’s capital markets industry refrained from talking about their personal lives at work for fear of others making assumptions about them, and this group reported the lowest satisfaction with their employer’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

The report also revealed that concerns over pay disparities in the sector are ongoing.

Only 34 per cent of women surveyed believed they were paid equally to other genders, despite there being equal pay provisions in the Employment Act, Sutton said.

“When I talk to leaders, all of them really authentically guarantee to me that they are paying their women equally and are frustrated by that,” she said.

“Maybe it’s a perception gap. Maybe it’s a realistic representation of the pay gap. Or maybe the truth is somewhere in between, (and) the people need to be much more transparent.”

Her organization’s report provides pages of suggestions for how companies can work toward fixing diversity and inclusion problems.

The recommendations include ensuring pay equity, requiring a diverse slate of candidates when hiring, establishing an ombudsperson office to deal with complaints of harassment and implementing representation targets with clear timelines.

Sutton is crossing her fingers that these steps are heeded by companies in financial services, who often outperform other sectors when diversity is measured broadly but still have work to do.

She hopes the report will also dispel some myths about women’s goals and needs.

The study found women and men are equally ambitious with 67 per cent of both genders saying they aspire to reach the executive level or C-Suite in their careers and 72 per cent of women and 63 per cent of men saying they expect a promotion in the next five years.

When asked to rank the importance in their careers of development opportunities, compensation, title, work/life balance and enjoying their job, 15 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women rank work/life balance as most important — an affront to the common perception that women value family responsibilities more than men.

The study also showed that more than half of men and three-quarters of women believe there are enough qualified women in the talent pool, but almost 25 per cent of men believe a lack of qualified women is the reason their workplace isn’t gender balanced.

“I hear repeatedly that ‘I’d love to hire women, BIPOC, but I just can’t find talent’ and I think that the line of thinking really doesn’t hold water anymore and we need to push beyond that,” she said.

“The talent might not be there but not in the same network as more traditional talent and this is not about lowering the barriers.”

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

economylabour marketLGBTQwomen in business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Wolf photo by Brian Hay
2020 hunting season review and wildlife update: Part III

This is Part III of a three-part series by F.J. Hurtak, looking at the issues of the 2020 hunting and wildlife management season

1914
It happened this week in 1914

Jan. 10 - 16: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Piling in place along Innis Avenue in Cranbrook, part of the new Broadstreet Properties development. David Humphrey photo
Innis Avenue to close to all traffic starting January 18

Avenue facing new development will be closed from Monday, Jan. 18 to Thursday, Jan. 21, for sewer connection

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Most Read