Im­mi­grants face ‘thick glass ceil­ing’ in the work­place

New­com­ers try­ing to ad­vance con­front many bar­ri­ers

The Peterborough Examiner - - BUSINESS - NI­CHOLAS KE­UNG

Im­mi­grants may have made progress reach­ing the first rung on their ca­reer lad­der in Canada, but they are get­ting nowhere near the C-suites, a new re­port says.

Among the lead­ing Greater Toronto Area em­ploy­ers across the pub­lic, pri­vate and non­profit sec­tors, only 6 per cent of ex­ec­u­tives — those at the level of vice-pres­i­dent or above — are im­mi­grants, ac­cord­ing to the study, “Build­ing a Cor­po­rate Lad­der for All,” to be re­leased

Thurs­day by the Toronto Re­gion Im­mi­grant Em­ploy­ment Coun­cil.

The pub­lic and non­profit sec­tors are far­ing slightly bet­ter with 6.6 per cent of their ex­ec­u­tives being im­mi­grants, but just 5 per cent of cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives over­all in the GTA are new­com­ers, says the study. Ex­ec­u­tives were not sur­veyed di­rectly. In­stead, the sur­vey ex­am­ined third-party pub­lic sources, such as LinkedIn, to de­ter­mine im­mi­grant rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Being a vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity im­mi­grant woman is a triple whammy as they only make up one in 100 cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives in the re­gion, the re­port found, though women over­all ac­counted for 36 per cent of the ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions.

“Im­mi­grants of­ten have to be­gin their Cana­dian ca­reers at more ju­nior, even en­try lev­els. This mid- or late-ca­reer ‘restart’ makes it un­likely that they will be able to climb up to the top of the ca­reer lad­der. Tak­ing a lower level po­si­tion has the po­ten­tial to af­fect an im­mi­grant’s en­tire ca­reer in Canada,” says the re­port, re­fer­ring to the lim­ited up­ward mo­bil­ity faced by new­com­ers as the “sticky floor” phe­nom­e­non.

“Em­ployer re­luc­tance to hire im­mi­grant tal­ent for man­age­ment-level po­si­tions in par­tic­u­lar, plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in lim­it­ing ad­vance­ment … Cul­tural dif­fer­ences in man­age­ment and lead­er­ship styles can play a role in this. There are cer­tain cul­tural ex­pec­ta­tions in Canada around how a leader should be­have,” the re­port said.

Re­port au­thor and re­searcher Yil­maz Er­gun Dinc an­a­lyzed the pro­files of 659 ex­ec­u­tives from 69 em­ploy­ers through sam­pling from the 2019 GTA Top Em­ploy­ers list­ing by Me­di­a­corp Canadaand the Globe and Mail. Only those with head­quar­ters and ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions in Canada were counted. Data was culled through com­pany web­sites, an­nual re­ports, in­vestor re­ports, LinkedIn and Bloomberg pro­files, as well as other pub­licly avail­able sources. In­di­vid­u­als were not sur­veyed di­rectly.

Al­though the find­ings are not de­fin­i­tive, the re­port of­fers a snap­shot of im­mi­grant rep­re­sen­ta­tion in ex­ec­u­tive roles in the re­gion.

In the GTA, eco­nomic im­mi­grants be­tween the ages of 35 to 44 on av­er­age earn about 25 per cent less than peo­ple born in Canada. How­ever, by the time they are be­tween the ages of 45 to 54, they earn almost 40 per cent less than their Cana­di­an­born coun­ter­parts.

To break the “thick glass ceil­ing,” the re­port rec­om­mends that em­ploy­ers es­tab­lish lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment and men­tor­ing pro­grams, in­clu­sion train­ing for man­agers and in­clu­sive pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment strate­gies.

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