Tech for All: Breaking Barriers in Toronto’s Innovation Community
Toronto’s tech sector is primed to thrive in today’s global innovation economy. But to achieve its full potential, employers must look at how diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) initiatives feed into overall strategy.
Tech for All presents MaRS research results on the state of DIBs in Toronto’s tech sector. It aims to shed light on the challenges companies face in attracting, hiring and retaining diverse talent, and to provide data on how workers feel about the state of DIBs in their workplaces.
MaRS undertook a comprehensive research study that included:
- conducting focus groups with 110 Toronto tech-sector employers and 28 tech-sector employees;
- interviewing 16 DIBs experts; and
- surveying 456 Toronto tech-sector employees.
While the survey found that employees vary widely in their feelings about the organizations where they work, there is good news: employers want to engage in and/or improve their DIBs initiatives.
Organizations in the tech sector need to work together to take on the innovation challenges that will propel our region forward. The report concludes with the Tech for All Agreement. Signed by many of the organizations who participated in the research, it indicates their desire to form an Inclusion Council. We encourage and welcome other members of the tech community to sign on to the agreement to truly make tech for all.
Key Tech for All findings include:
- Women, Black employees, young people and non-leaders working in Toronto’s tech sector organizations reported lower levels of DIBs in their workplaces.
- Employees from the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and Indigenous workers who participated in our focus groups and interviews reported troubling barriers that prevent them from feeling a sense of inclusion and belonging in their workplaces.
- Women were twice as likely to disagree that their organization is diverse or fosters belonging.
- 66 per cent of Black employees reported that they had been subject to bias on one or more aspects of their identity, compared to 47 per cent of white employees.
- Millennials were 1.7 times as likely to report that their organization isn’t diverse overall compared to their older peers. They also felt ageism exists at work and that older peers often disregard their ideas.
- Those with a disability were 2.4 times more likely to disagree that their organization promotes belonging.
- Those working at a small organization (one to 99 employees) were less likely to report they had been subjected to bias based on one or more aspects of their identity, compared to employees at medium (100 to 499 employees) and large (500+ employees) organizations.
- BetaKit: MaRS report analyzes diversity, inclusion, and belonging of Toronto tech
Are you an employer that is interested in joining the Inclusion Council?
MaRS is convening a sector-wide Inclusion Council to help support employers enhance DIBs at their organizations and throughout the industry. Members of the council will be able to share best practices, have access to curated resources, toolkits and supports, and create an open peer-dialogue around the challenges they face.