Report finds GTA immigrants nearly absent at top of corporate ladder

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Despite making up nearly 50% of the population, Greater Toronto Area immigrants only make up 6% of senior leadership positions cross the public, private, and non-profit sector, according to a new report published by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

While newcomer unemployment rates are at an all-time low, too many immigrant professionals are unable to move up to executive and c-suite level positions. The lack of equal access to professional development opportunities, as well as implicit bias and discriminatory practices have been identified as key barriers contributing to this trend.

The report, Building A Corporate Ladder for All, explores key issues beyond just overall employment numbers of Canadian immigrants, or immediate outcomes like ‘getting the first job’. Through original research – including a study based on a sample of 659 executives and 69 organizations – and interviews with the GTA’s top employers, the report looks extensively at labour market advancement trends, obstacles leading to career stagnation, and critical recommendations for inclusive practices leading to improved immigrant career progression.

“There’s clearly a glass ceiling for immigrant professionals and it’s unfortunate we’re not utilizing the full skills and talent they have to offer,” said Margaret Eaton, Executive Director of TRIEC. “Newcomers offer so much to the economic success of our region and seeing a lack of diversity in leadership positions means there’s still much progress to be made.”

In an interview with Can-India, Yilmaz Dinc (TRIEC’s research and partnerships specialist) said that employers should consider competency rather than the country an immigrant learnt those skills. “Given the large and growing number of racialized immigrants, employers need to realize that employing immigrants and benefiting from their talents could help them reach cultural markets. Companies get their knowhow and insight,” he added.

The report reveals that the private sector has the least diverse leadership. Only 5 percent of corporate executives in the GTA are immigrants.

Public and non-profit sectors are faring only slightly better. Only 6 percent of executives in the GTA are immigrants.

Career stagnation exists even in fields most commonly employing newcomers. Immigrants are not climbing up the ladder in financial and insurance as well as professional, scientific and technical services, where the largest concentration of immigrant professionals work.

Intersectionality of gender and race has negative impacts – especially for women. Around 4.2 percent of executives are racialized immigrants and 2 percent of executives are immigrant women of colour. Only one in 100 corporate executives is a racialized immigrant woman.

Clearly one of the most diverse cities in the world has to utilize the skills immigrants from other parts of the world bring to the table. -CINEWS

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