Tech Veterans Weigh in on Best Workplaces for Women in Canada

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A lot of work has been done in Canada as of late to improve the diversity of workforces and inclusivity for employees, but a few companies have stepped up and shown it is a real factor for their organization’s culture.

Great Place to Work has unveiled their 2018 list of the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women, and several tech companies have landed on the list. Axonify, BlueDot, Flipp, LoyaltyOne, Nulogy, Points.com, Resolver, Salesforce, Wave and Wealthsimple all made the cut, along with larger companies like Intuit Canada, RBC, and Indeed Canada. Check the full list here.

In order to make the list, companies must have a minimum of 50 female workers and provide a male/female breakdown by job level to better understand the number of women working in higher-level roles. This means the list is reserved for larger companies and is not limited to Canada-founded organizations.

The employees surveyed at the companies on this list had a minimum 90 per cent positive response to the statement “I am treated fairly regardless of my gender.” The list also factored in “levels of workplace trust experienced by the company’s female workforce as well as their people programs that support women,” according to the Great Place to Work list.

Carol Leaman is the CEO and president of Axonify, one of the companies included as the Best Workplaces in Canada for Women.

“At Axonify, we’ve made a deliberate effort to employ a team of both men and women and multiple ethnic backgrounds. Our leadership team is 50% women. And, we employ new professionals just beginning their career, all the way up to more mature individuals who have 25 years plus experience,” says Leaman.

“When you open yourself up to considering a diverse team, you end up hiring the best people for the right roles. Diversity is no longer limited to discussions around traditional male and female gender roles,” continues Leaman. “Ethnic diversity, expanded gender definitions, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, and other differentiating factors mean addressing diversity in the workplace is becoming more complex. Topics that were previously considered taboo, such as mental illness and sexual orientation, are now more out in the open. This is encouraging companies to think more deeply about how they address diversity and also build a culture that mirrors modern values.”

Wealthsimple is also included on the list, soon after announcing they crossed the $2 billion in assets managed mark. CFO Leen Li played a major role in that achievement and she spoke about being included on the Best Workplaces for Women list.

“Wealthsimple is committed to building the most diverse team and most inclusive environment possible—we want everyone, no matter who they are, to be empowered and motivated to do the best work of their lives here,” said Li. “Being included in this list is a testament to the culture each of our team members contributes to on a daily basis. And we’re not done yet—there are always improvements to be made and we’ll keep working on making the culture at Wealthsimple and our community as good as it can be for everyone.”

Making Progress?

Gender diversity in the workforce, especially in STEM companies, remains a challenge for many organizations. A November 2017 #movethedial study found that only five per cent of Canadian tech companies have a solo female founder, and almost three-quarters of tech boards in the country have no women on them. This isn’t diversity for diversity’s sake either; gender-diverse companies are 15 per cent more likely to financially outperform their peers as well.

Still, it seems the country is at least trending in the right direction. While the recently released 2018 Federal Budget does have a lot of money allocated towards female founders and entrepreneurs, it still needs a bit of guidance, as women tend to experience more gender bias the farther they climb the corporate ladder.

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