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June 18, 2019

A Brief Overview of Diversity in Business in Calgary

Talk of a talent shortage in Calgary is a little like talk of the weather. There is always something to say and it is ever-present. The solution (or at least part of the solution) is tapping into our own diverse population. Our Labour Shortage In a Nutshell In Calgary, 30%…

Talk of a talent shortage in Calgary is a little like talk of the weather. There is always something to say and it is ever-present. The solution (or at least part of the solution) is tapping into our own diverse population.

Our Labour Shortage In a Nutshell

In Calgary, 30% of employers say they need more skilled workers. The unemployment rate is 4.5%. Our economy keeps growing and workers keep retiring – an estimated 19,000 people will retire in Alberta by 2021. That math means filling positions for skilled workers isn’t going to get any easier.

Where the Talented Employees Are

Good news. Potential employees are right within our city limits. They’ve been here all along, but we have been underusing them.

24% of Calgary’s population is immigrants. 80% of new Calgarians are educated, according to Cindy DeVouge, chief development officer for Immigrant Services Calgary. The unemployment rate of recent immigrants with university degrees is 13% nationally, compared to 3% for Canadian-born people with degrees.

All of that means that there are new Calgarians that are currently underutilized. Also consider that with more head offices and global businesses coming to Calgary, employees with international knowledge are an asset.

Dig a little deeper into diversity and you’ll find a huge gap in leadership positions. Sustainable Calgary’s State of our City project looked into leadership positions in Calgary and found:

  • Women hold 39% of all leadership positions and just 20% of corporate leadership positions. Women make up 50% of the population.
  • Aboriginal people hold 0.35% of all leadership positions and 0% of corporate leadership positions. They are 2.7% of the populations.
  • Visible minorities represent 9% of all leadership positions and 6% of corporate leadership positions. Visible minorities are 30.1% of our cities population.

That is just the beginning. Clearly diversity includes more than just those three groups, such as people with disabilities, youth and religious minorities.

What’s Next For Business in Calgary?

What does this all mean? What are the potential steps forward? Calgary Economic Development‘s next Soul of the City event will explore these questions.

On January 15, Mayor Nenshi will open the discussion with his thoughts on why diverse communities – in all quadrants of the city – are important.

Michael Bach is up next. He’s the founder and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (read: maybe the most knowledgeable Canadian on this particular topic). Bach will present research and give the audience actions they can take to make their business more diverse.

After that there will be a panel that includes Deborah Green, senior diversity recruiter for Shell, Bruce Randall, executive director for the Calgary Regional Immigrant Employment Council and Karen MacKenzie, the co-founder and president of MacKintosh Canada.

That is followed by a Q+A and a reception. By the end of the evening you should have some insight into why diversity is good business and some tools that will help you make it happen.

Soul of the City – Diversity is Good Business takes place January 15 from 4:45 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Bow Valley College, Room N231, 6 Ave. S.E. Tickets are $35. Register here.

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