Equality Day: How are we doing?

Equality Day: How are we doing?

“Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers” – Josh Bersin

Your thoughts?

  • This quote reeks of H.R. sappiness
  • Nice, but not realistic
  • Where do I sign up?

BCG Henderson Institute study:

  • more than 1,700 companies from eight different countries of varying sizes and industries
  • companies with diverse management teams versus those without
  • 45% revenue from innovation, compared to only 26%
  • 9% higher overall financial performance (EBIT)

McKinsey Global Institute report:

  • $28 trillion (26%) increase in global GDP if both sexes in all countries were paid equally
  • or a $12 trillion increase if all countries matched the gender equality progress of the fastest-improving country in their region. That is equal to the current GDP of Germany, Japan and the UK combined.

Deloitte Australia study:

  • employees who feel included and believe their company is committed to and supportive of diversity report:
    • an 83% increase in performance related to their ability to innovate
    • a 31% increase in their ability to respond to customer needs
    • a 42% increase in team collaboration
    • and they are 80% more likely to agree that they work in a high performing organization.

Regarding the implementation of diversity and inclusion programs:

“For management teams, there are few slam dunks in the business world. This is one of them”BCG

“The research for inclusivity makes for a no-brainer business case” – Digitalis Magazine: The Future of Work

Correct answer: Can I borrow your pen?


Many Alberta businesses continue to pay based on gender and/or race.

Your thoughts?

  • B.S.
  • Maybe a few, but not mine!
  • Yes, it is a widespread problem

Gender gaps are real, and Alberta is one of the worst.

Stats Canada 2020






In translation, a woman in Alberta would have to work about 5 weeks longer than a man to have the same income. When you add race to the mix, the gap is even larger.

Correct answer: Yeah, that’s a problem


Okay, so we do pay based on gender and/or race. It isn’t our fault that those people choose lower paying jobs.

Your thoughts?

  • Exactly!
  • Maybe they should get a better education
  • We need to do better

The truth is that most inequality in the workplace is systemic, not deliberate. It comes disguised as “equal opportunity”, smiling and welcoming newcomers into their low-paying roles.

For example, “soft skills” typically pay less and women are more often in those roles. So even if (big if) men and women in the same role are paid equally, other jobs typically held by women and minorities are often undervalued. Think HR (of course), child care, reception, etc. These positions all require tact, compassion, communication, problem-solving, integrity, and a multitude of people skills. If they are lacking in those areas, it could have devastating results for the company. Yet their pay often does not reflect their value in comparison to equal positions in accounting etc.

Another barrier to equality is that we do not all start off on equal ground. Those who already have money can afford a better education, benefit from business contacts, can finance a new business, and they can be more selective when job-hunting. When you start off halfway up the ladder to success, you reach it much faster. Therefore, these people are usually the ones who end up in leadership roles and other higher-paying positions.

So although it would be nice if everyone could choose the job they want and afford the education that would help them attain it, that simply isn’t the case.

Correct answer: We need to do much, much better


So why does Alberta fall short? What are other provinces doing? What should we be doing?

Compared to the Other Provinces

Section 6(1) of the Alberta Human Rights Act states:
“Where employees of both sexes perform the same or substantially similar work for an employer in an establishment the employer shall pay the employees at the same rate of pay.” 

Your thoughts?

  • Looks good to me!
  • Doesn’t that cover it?
  • Wow, I can drive a truck through those holes.

That section of the Human Rights Act is all that we have. We do not have separate, complete pay equity legislation. Referring back to the Stats Canada table above, I have added each province’s pay equity legislation:







It is no coincidence that the four provinces without any pay equity legislation also have the largest gender pay gaps. Alberta’s government needs to do better.

Correct answer: Inequality has had an easy ride – time to put up some toll booths.


What we should be doing

The government should be enacting pay equity legislation. I am sure they will at some point, but can’t we do the right thing before it is forced on us? Jobs need to be evaluated based on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, rather than just the market or what is traditionally accepted. Newer generations are not going to settle for less, and older generations shouldn’t have to.

If you would like to evaluate pay equity in your business, TMT can help. Once you know what the disparity is, we can help you implement whatever changes may be necessary, keeping corporate goals and limitations in mind.