Emerging talent, or people new to the work force, have become a driving force for equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and anti-racism in the workplace. Emerging job seekers agree that EDI needs to be a priority for their future employers.
Many organizations are seeing a steady rise in Generation Z employees—those born between 1996-2014. Like many co-op students, this emerging talent is the most diverse group of employees to ever hit the workforce.
To attract, engage and retain this emerging talent, organizations need to make EDI a priority. According to research from Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute (WxL), organizations can do this through practices such as offering unconscious bias training, implementing blind recruitment practices and looking beyond Canadian experience and credential requirements. Organizations can also prioritize culturally sensitive policies, such as adopting gender-neutral language and providing space to recognize lived gender identity.
Learn more from Canada’s top diversity employers
Companies that prioritize EDI reap many benefits from emerging talent. Diverse teams are more innovative, likely to be more reflective of their customer base and can positively impact a company’s bottom line. The following employers were recognized among the 2021 best diversity employers by Mediacorp Canada. They each utilize EDI strategies that also help attract and retain next generation talent—like University of Waterloo co-op students:
Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC)
“We are focused on our people and fostering a workplace culture that is inclusive, equitable and representative of the Canadian population. We set diversity and inclusion goals, which are measured, and have an Anti-Racism and Equity program that are helping us progress towards equitable housing outcomes.
We have numerous programs to support our student and team member communities. We offer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Reconciliation learning paths, access to a confidential and professional coaching program aligned with the International Coaching Federation and a Results Only Work Environment. CMHC also has several employee resource groups (ERGs) that are created and led by our team members. One of the first ERGs to officially launch was the Student Network. Since its creation, they’ve put in place student team member satisfaction surveys, held networking events and brought in speakers to talk about topics important to students such as career development.”
- Sylvain Chabot (he/him), advisor for diversity and inclusion.
Procter & Gamble Canada
“At P&G we have campus recruitment teams that does targeted efforts. We recognize that there are underrepresented candidates from coast to coast. Our Canadian diversity and inclusion taskforce is linked to that initiative. We are focused on meeting students where they are, thinking beyond faculty-based campus clubs or networks. We focus on accessible learning, LGBTQ+ student associations, associations for South Asian or Caribbean students. We try to break into these spaces that are often left behind. In the last five years we’ve learned what really matters to these students and this generation.
We have strategic programs in place. For example, women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) which is a big priority. We’ve partnered with many student organizations to inspire women who want careers in tech to make that leap.
- Amaryllis Jones (she/her), talent acquisition and E&I leader.
“We have several youth career development programs such as our Apprenticeship Program. This was originally a technology program for our marginalized youth. We had a lot of youth come through this program as newcomers to Canada that were looking for a career change. I’ve known about the program’s existence in Toronto since 2016, and we’ve expanded to three cities across Canada, adding more corporate citizenship partners since then.
We also have a student mentorship program for BIPOC youth to help upskill them for the workplace, whether it be in consulting or beyond. Our campus teams provide a lot of upskilling as well and try to focus their efforts on specific marginalized groups. We’ve seen great results in terms of people’s mindsets shifting around biases as well as students securing employment whether at Accenture or beyond.”
- Farrah Khoo (she/her), inclusion & diversity recruitment specialist.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
“We have an extensive EDI program which includes robust educational programming. We've had sessions on topics from effective ally-ship with Black, racialized, and LGBTQ2S+ communities, to bystander intervention training, to discussions on fostering inclusive workspaces such as working with people with disabilities and developing meaningful reconciliatory relationships with Indigenous Peoples. We've developed strategies to address racism and provide mandatory anti-Black and anti-Asian racism training.
We also have programs for transgender inclusivity and an accommodation policy to provide practical guidance on supporting, respecting and accommodating trans individuals and preventing harassment and discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Our students are included in all our initiatives and are especially involved in our robust mentorship program.
We have an affinity mentorship program where students who identify as Indigenous, racialized or as members of the LGBTQ2S+ community are paired with a lawyer mentor specifically from either of those groups. We want them to see themselves reflected in the firm and to know that they can bring their true selves to work every day.”
- Samanthea Samuels (she/her), manager, equity, diversity and inclusion.
The impact of Gen Z’s social awareness can be seen in the workplace. In a recent Monster survey, 83 per cent of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to fostering inclusion is important when choosing an employer. A resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and recognition of issues of systemic racism has led to more focus on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism.
Read more about EDI and future talent recruitment
Like her counterparts in a galaxy far away, JEDI (Justice, Equity, Decolonization and Inclusion) coach Rosie Yeung (she/her) battles for a better tomorrow.
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