More visible minorities in GTA leadership: Study

Public sector, education out-perform other sectors
||Last Updated: 06/13/2011

The leadership of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is more diverse than it was three years ago, according to a new research report by the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University on behalf of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project.

More than one-in-10 (14.5 per cent) of leaders in the GTA are visible minorities (relative to 49.5 per cent of the population), which is an overall increase of eight per cent from 13.4 per cent in 2009, found

DiverseCity Counts: A Snapshot of Diverse Leadership in the GTA.

"In terms of the overall results, we are glad to see movement in the right direction. But we recognize that at this pace it will be 30 years before our leadership catches up with our demographic reality," said Ratna Omidvar, president of Maytree, an organization that promotes equity and prosperity through leadership building and is co-chairing the DiverseCity project. "Our project is working to collapse natural time frames so that we can reap the benefits of diverse leadership now."

The report tracks more than 3,000 leaders across the corporate, public, elected, education and non-profit sectors. Year after year, government agencies, boards and commissions (22 per cent) and the education sector (20 per cent) have consistently out-performed other sectors. Elected officials are the third most diverse group of leaders at 19 per cent and the corporate sector has remained the least diverse at 4.2 per cent, found the report.

"Perhaps the reason that the public sector typically has more visible minority leaders is the higher level of transparency and scrutiny that inspires action," said Wendy Cukier, lead author of the report and founder of the Diversity Institute. "Organizations that make a point of tracking and reporting on their results tend to have higher levels of diversity. What gets measured gets done."

Over the three-year time frame, elected officials show the largest growth across sectors studied, from 16.1 per cent in 2009 to 19 per cent in 2011 — an 18 per cent increase. Within this category, the Town of Markham stands out with visible minorities comprising 30.8 per cent of council.

In looking at the legal sector, just 6.8 per cent of leaders (judges, governing bodies and law school leaders and law partners and crown attorneys) in the GTA are visible minorities compared to 14.4 per cent of a talent pool of practising visible minority lawyers in the GTA, found the study. While 6.6 per cent of partners at the biggest law firms are visible minorities, 8.3 per cent of judges are visible minorities.

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