More than half of Black workers say job prospects improving

But many unemployed Black Canadians say they're not seeing improvements

More than half of Black workers say job prospects improving

More than half (54 per cent) of employed Black Canadians say their prospects for getting a job have improved in the last 18 months.

Nearly one in five (19 per cent) also say they got a job for which they previously would have been overlooked, and 35 per cent say their prospects for promotion and advancement have improved, according to a report from KPMG.

And nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents are optimistic that their organization will be able to reduce systemic barriers for Black employees in the next five years.

A further 67 per cent say they are optimistic corporate Canada will be able to drive change in the next five years, finds KPMG’s survey of more than 1,000 Black Canadian adults in December and January.

Challenges for unemployed

However, 77 per cent of unemployed Black Canadians say they have not seen an improvement in their job prospects since the summer of 2020, compared to 23 per cent who have seen some progress.

More than one in 10 (14 per cent) go so far as to say that it has worsened over the past 18 months. Meanwhile, 11 per cent say they are getting called back for jobs and interviewed more frequently, but think this is for show and not genuine.

"In the summer of 2020, we heard and saw a myriad of organizations state their commitment to the Black community. While we are seeing progress for those in the workforce, the results of our survey suggest that for the unemployed, systemic barriers have not been dismantled and the needle has not moved in a meaningful way,” says Tamika Mitchell, an auditor and co-chair of the Black Professionals Network at KPMG in Canada.

While many HR and business executives believe that it’s critical to track diversity efforts by focusing on hiring, 52 per cent of unemployed Black Canadians feel that nothing has changed as far as their job prospect is concerned,

Employers need to make some adjustments in their hiring process, especially because they have a lot to gain from bringing in diverse talent, says Mitchell.

"Corporations are increasingly interacting with a more diverse market, and they need to be open to new ways of thinking when it comes to recruiting and promoting talent. Different perspectives are needed to stay competitive. Diversity of thought from people of different backgrounds brings agility to a corporation that can't be found in a homogenous environment."

Employers are not getting it right when it comes to recruiting diverse talent, one expert previously told Canadian HR Reporter.

Acts of racism still prevalent

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of Black Canadians say they have experienced some form of microaggression or act of racism in society over the last 18 months, according to the KPMG report.

And while 27 per cent say the incidents have declined, 15 per cent say they've increased. Meanwhile, 15 per cent have not encountered any microaggressions.

In the workplace, 55 per cent of Black Canadians say they have been the victim of acts of racism. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) say they saw fewer of these and 44 per cent saying they experienced none. However, there were still those (14 per cent) who say these increased in the last year and a half. 

While many companies have an increased awareness about anti-Black racism and other forms of racism in society and in their own organizations, this alone is not enough, says Tarisai Madambi, a management consultant and co-chair of the Black Professionals Network at KPMG in Canada.

“What we need is a better understanding of the issues underpinning inequity, because for many, there is still a lack of understanding about the underlying issues, and that's where the hard work needs to be done. We're not going to make real sustainable change until we all know why inequity exists and why it's still being reinforced."

To further reduce anti-Black racism in the workplace, employers must do the following, according to a recent report from the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's (RNAO) Black Nurses Task Force (BNTF):

  • Appoint more Black Canadians to the board of directors or senior management ranks.
  • Provide more anti-racism education and training for employees and management.
  • Have senior leadership teams "walk the walk".
  • Make reducing anti-Black racism a bigger human resources priority.
  • Make a major culture change.
  • Replace senior leadership teams.

Latest stories