As Alberta’s economy grows and diversifies, so too has the province’s labour force.
There is huge demand for workers across all sectors, and to meet the need, companies are bringing in more and more employees from marginalized groups.
For many companies with outdated mindsets around fairness in the workplace, it can pose a challenge when it comes attracting and retaining new employees.
A Deloitte report found that 39% of workers are willing to change jobs for a more inclusive employer. The same report notes that 23% have already left their current jobs for more inclusive workplaces.
Addressing disparities in the workforce is essential for economic and social reasons. When everyone has equal employment opportunities, employees thrive and communities flourish.
What is employment equity?
Employment equity means everyone has an equal chance at being hired and promoted without fear of discrimination. It’s an inclusive approach that values diversity and promotes a fair workplace.
Established in 1995, the Employment Equity Act was introduced to create equality in Canadian workplaces. Its goal is to ensure that no one is unfairly prevented from getting a job.
The Act supports taking special steps to hire individuals from marginalized groups – including women, First Nations peoples, visible minorities, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ communities.
It requires employers to find and eliminate obstacles to equality at work, whether they relate to policies or practices. The aim is to create a workplace that rewards the skills of all individuals, regardless of their background. Employment equity means treating everyone fairly at work and giving them a chance to succeed.
The power of progress
In recent years, Alberta has made significant strides toward creating a more inclusive workforce. The growing presence of women, visible minorities, disabled and LGBTQ+ employees shows that Alberta employers increasingly value different perspectives and experiences.
However, challenges continue to persist. Many Alberta workers still face three key obstacles that hinder their careers.
Although the gender wage gap in Canada has narrowed in recent years, women still earn 9.2% less than their male counterparts. The gap is even larger for visible minorities, with that group earning 12.6% less than their Caucasian counterparts. Wage gaps reflect systemic disparities that hinder financial equality.
Reasons like hidden bias in pay, negotiation obstacles, and lack of clarity add to the wage gap among marginalized groups. By tackling these underlying issues, we can advocate for a workforce where fair compensation prevails.
Limited opportunities for career advancements
When it comes to advancing their careers, women, racial minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community often face barriers that hold them back.
Moving up in the company and reaching leadership positions can be difficult due to unfair biases and obstacles. And until more workers from marginalized groups are in senior roles, it is feared little will change.
Ongoing discrimination and bias
Unfair biases about gender, race, or sexual orientation affect important choices, like hiring and promotions. Biases affect daily interactions, making it difficult for everyone to feel equal and valued at work. To solve this problem, it is critical to bring attention to these issues and change the way people think.
A Recipe for Change
There are many ways to improve employment equity in the workplace.
It starts by hiring more workers from marginalized groups. When these individuals get to prove their skills and make meaningful contributions, the stereotypes will start to disappear.
Collaborative initiatives between employers and advocacy groups, such as unions, can pave the way for significant progress. When these groups work together, they can create tangible changes that foster inclusive workplaces and break down barriers and protect against discrimination.
Implementing progressive policies and advocating for collaborative partnerships and legal protections can be a powerful catalyst for positive change.
How does Teamsters 987 champion employment equity?
Teamsters 987 champions employment equity by continuously advocating for fair hiring practices. We emphasize the need for hiring based on merit and potential, ensuring equal opportunities for everyone. Unions support fair practices to create equal opportunities for individuals based on their skills and abilities.
Teamsters 987 takes a hands-on approach to advancing diversity and inclusion. By collaborating with employers, we actively foster inclusive workplaces. This approach aims to break down systemic barriers and promote environments where we celebrate diversity and protect against discrimination. Through these efforts, real and meaningful change is possible.
Are there inequalities in your workplace? We can help you take the first step in improving your work conditions. Contact us today and we can help you on your journey.