New Catalyst study finds visible minorities key, but lack of critical
relationships limits advancement, especially for visible minority women
TORONTO, Nov. 28 /CNW/ - Visible minorities in some of Canada's biggest
organizations feel excluded from relationships that are critical for career
advancement, according to the latest Catalyst study, "Career Advancement in
Corporate Canada: A Focus on Visible Minorities ~ Critical Relationships."
"Our study confirms that corporate Canada is not maximizing the potential
"brain gain" offered by skilled immigrants, most of whom are visible
minorities," says Deborah Gillis, vice president, Canada, Catalyst. "We know
that having a network, mentor and champion are critical for career
advancement. Unfortunately, visible minorities, especially women, feel
excluded from the kind of relationships that help individuals - and ultimately
the businesses they work for - succeed.
Catalyst, the leading research organization advancing women and business,
and the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University recently released Career
Advancement in Corporate Canada: A Focus on Visible Minorities ~ Survey
Findings, their landmark study which presented findings from over 17,000
managers, professionals and executives working in many of Canada's largest
businesses. In this second study in its visible minority series, Catalyst
looks specifically at understanding career advancement challenges faced by
visible minorities and offers recommendations to businesses who want to
capitalize on potentially unrecognized talent from visible minority employees.
Key findings from the study include:
- Visible minorities, especially women, feel excluded from informal
- A lack of multiple mentors who share gender, visible minority status
and/or who are influential but demographically different, is a career
advancement barrier for visible minorities.
- Visible minority women and men described mentoring relationships in
- As with other groups, visible minority men and women believe that
having a champion is particularly important, yet visible minorities
lack access to the critical relationships that are necessary to
- Self-promotion is often necessary to get a champion on one's side,
yet visible minorities, especially women, are uncomfortable with
"The results of the Catalyst study, particularly the responses of visible
minority women, are a call to action for any business looking to achieve more
with its most important resource - its people," says Zabeen Hirji, chief human
resources officer at RBC, the lead sponsor of the study. "With predictions of
talent shortages, the business case can no longer be denied. At RBC as we move
ahead in our diversity journey, we are creating inclusive opportunities for
people to connect with the mentors and networks that will help them succeed.
We believe if you want to serve the market, you have to hire the market."
The study points strongly to the importance of informal networking, which
builds trust and information sharing. As this networking often revolves around
social activities such as playing and/or watching sports, visible minority
women feel particularly uncomfortable in this environment and it is more
difficult for them to find mentors and/or champions. Excluded from such
gender-biased activities, many visible minorities believe that they are not
offered the same opportunities at promotions, access to relationships with
clients or social support. This feeling is acute amongst visible minority
According to Alan McGibbon, managing partner and chief executive,
Deloitte & Touche LLP, "The findings in this report point to the clear
challenge Canadian businesses have to build more inclusive environments where
all employees can succeed."
To improve the situation Catalyst recommends that organizations:
- Think critically about where informal networking takes place and how
this may exclude certain people.
- Provide formal and targeted networking opportunities for visible
- Formalize mentoring programs and encourage and train strategic
- Ensure the availability of a diverse pool of mentors and encourage
diversified mentoring relationships.
- Base career advancement decisions on formal performance evaluations
that are consistent for all employees.
- Provide employees with the necessary resources to communicate their
achievements and engage champions.
RBC Financial Group is the study's lead sponsor. Deloitte and Touche LLP
and IBM Canada are the participating sponsors. The Ontario Ministry of
Citizenship and Immigration is a supporting sponsor.
To review the Catalyst study please visit www.catalyst.org.
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit corporate membership
research and advisory organization working globally with businesses and the
professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women
and business. With offices in New York, San Jose, Toronto, and Zug, and the
support and confidence of more than 340 leading corporations, firms, business
schools, and associations, Catalyst is connected to business and its changing
needs and is the premier resource for information and data about women in the
workplace. In addition, Catalyst honors exemplary business initiatives that
promote women's leadership with the annual Catalyst Award.
For further information:
For further information: Media Contact: Charmain Emerson, Building
Blocks Communications, Email: Charmain@building-blocks.ca, Office: (416)
588-8514, Mobile: (416) 857-9401