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

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

TORONTO — 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 also most likely to report being afraid for their personal safety at work.

“I don’t walk in these women’s shoes in the capital market or finance sector, but this really concerns me and it should really concern leaders of such firms that Black women feel this way,” said Paulette Senior, the president and chief executive of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

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.

Senior suggested that capital markets firms look at implementing better strategies to eradicate the pay gap, address child or elder care issues their workers face and deal with harassment at the office.

She says now is the time to act because she has heard of women leaving their careers because they’re frustrated with a lack of action from companies turning a blind eye to problems.

“Just because you don’t see the problem because you’re not experiencing it, doesn’t mean it does not exist,” Senior said.

Sutton is crossing her fingers that these messages 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.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 28, 2020.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Business

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

Just Posted

A stainless steel monolith is set up along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, in a Jan. 15, 2021 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

Installed it with the help of volunteers after getting permission from private landowners

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages. (Photo by Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Recall affects customers in Alberta

TSA officers wear protective masks at a security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday, May 18, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Airlines say they are stepping up security on flights to Washington before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Delta, United and Alaska airlines said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 they will bar passengers flying to Washington from putting guns in checked bags. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Most major US airlines ban guns in luggage for DC flights

Bans start Saturday and run through Inauguration Day until Jan. 23

Art McDonald, then the new head of the navy, addressed the audience at the Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony in Halifax on June 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
New defence chief apologizes to victims of military sexual misconduct, hate

McDonald promised to work to root out discrimination and harassment

The provincial government released its 2021 wheat midge forecast recently. (File photo by The Canadian Press)
2021 forecast shows increase in wheat midge risk in parts of Alberta

The provincial government’s wheat midge forecast for 2021 shows an increase in… Continue reading

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Updated: Jason Kenney kicks Lesser Slave Lake MLA out of caucus

Pat Rehn will not be permitted to run for UCP nominations

FILE - In this July 26, 2019, file photo, China’s Sun Yang leaves the pool deck following the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay heats at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The World Anti-Doping Agency says a Swiss court has overturned an eight-year doping ban against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and ordered the case back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a second time but with a different chairman of the judges. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
Swiss supreme court details anti-China bias of Sun judge

Hostile social media posts by Court of Arbitration for Sport judge Franco Frattini

FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba passes the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings in Los Angeles. Bonding between veterans and youngsters has been a time-honored tradition in hockey. But in yet another setback related to the relentless COVID-19, NHL protocols aiming to curb the virus spread and keep the schedule on track could make that vital off-ice development of camaraderie more difficult. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Mentors wanted: Virus limits vet-rookie time away from rink

Bonding between veterans and youngsters has been a time-honoured tradition

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2020 file photo, NFL Super Bowl 54 football game halftime performer Jennifer Lopez answers questions at a news conference in Miami. Lopez will give a musical performance on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol when Biden is sworn in as the nation’s 46th president next Wednesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Stars return to inauguration, with J.Lo, Gaga set to perform

Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances

An example of a child’s artwork during the COVID-19 pandemic is shown in a handout. Many of the children’s drawings show people alone, haunted by shadowy spectres, or worse, their own thoughts.The researcher behind the childart.ca project says the virtual gallery of illustrations by Canadian kids and teenagers showcases a wide variety of visions of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-childart.ca
‘This is too much’: Art shows children’s struggles during pandemic, says researcher

Recurring themes include confined figures, screaming faces and gory imagery

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff as he arrives to celebrate Mass, at St. Peter's Basilica. Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly allow women to do more things during Mass, Monday Jan. 11, 2021, while reaffirming they cannot be priests. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, FILE)
Pope says women can read at Mass, but still can’t be priests

Pope says women can read at Mass, but still can’t be priests

Winnipeg Jets' Patrik Laine (29) and Kyle Connor (81) celebrate Laine’s goal during opening game first period NHL action against the Calgary Flames, in Winnipeg, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Laine scored his second goal of the game in overtime, and the Winnipeg Jets started their season with a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Laine’s three-point night earns Winnipeg Jets 4-3 OT win over Calgary Flames

Laine’s three-point night earns Winnipeg Jets 4-3 OT win over Calgary Flames

Shin Wook Lim, 45, is shown in this undated police handout photo. A former Taekwondo Canada coach has been found guilty of sexual assault and other sex-related offences involving a teenage student. Shin Wook Lim pleaded not guilty to 15 charges involving two female students, including sexual assault and sexual interference. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Toronto Police Services
Former Taekwondo Canada coach found guilty of sex-related offences involving student

Former Taekwondo Canada coach found guilty of sex-related offences involving student

Most Read