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

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Environment Canada is forecasting up to 20 centimetres of snow on the Coquihalla Highway Friday, April 9, 2021. (File photo)
Snowfall warning in effect for Coquihalla Highway

Environment Canada is forecasting up to 20 cm of snow to fall on the Coquihalla Friday

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read