Author: Brooke Gordon, Regional Manager, Client Diversity for BDC in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces
The labour shortage is one of the most critical issues facing many Canadian businesses. It can stymie business growth and innovation, delay order fulfilment and leave your team overworked and frustrated.
A great solution exists that many business owners aren’t taking full advantage of: improving the diversity of their team. Recruiting in underemployed groups—such as new immigrants, minorities, Indigenous people, younger and older workers—results not only in a broader pool of potential candidates.
A diverse and inclusive workplace has also been linked to higher financial returns, innovation and business resilience. Diverse companies are also more likely to be able to tap into a greater variety of markets. The numbers consistently prove the business case for diversity.
- Companies with strong gender diversity in their executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability, according to a McKinsey study.
- Businesses with high racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to enjoy superior profits.
And yet, only 18% of Canadian entrepreneurs say they plan to recruit immigrants to deal with labour shortages. This is a significant missed opportunity.
We need to recognize that Canada’s population is changing. By 2032, immigrants will account for up to 80% of population growth. Businesses that act early will be best positioned to seize the opportunities.
What can you do to improve diversity? Here are tips we recommend to our clients at BDC.
- Review hiring practices to be sure your company is reaching the widest possible candidate pool and doesn’t inadvertently exclude excellent workers. Also focus on diversity in management.
- Ensure onboarding and retention are welcoming to all recruits. This could include updating workplace policies, offering training and appointing mentors.
- Increase supply chain diversity. This can not only broaden your supplier pool. It can also lead to lower prices, bring innovation and make your business more resilient to supplier disruption.
- Bring in outside help. Work with agencies that help immigrant jobseekers or an outside consultant to improve your diversity efforts. Also consider creating an advisory board with diverse voices; this can bring new ideas and access to fresh markets.
Diversity may be just the secret sauce you need to accelerate your company’s growth and innovation. Diversity has never been more important for Canadian businesses. Be sure you’re taking full advantage of the opportunities it can bring.