Building our Industry’s Bench-Strength for the 50-30 Challenge!

Carol McGlogan

Sept 13, 2021

By Carol McGlogan

The 50-30 Challenge is an initiative between the Government of Canada, businesses and diversity organizations. The goal of the program is to challenge Canadian organizations to increase the representation and inclusion of diverse groups within their workplace, while highlighting the benefits of providing all Canadians with ‘a seat at the table’.

The 50-30 Challenge asks that organizations aspire to two goals:

1. Gender parity (“50%”) on Canadian board(s) and senior management; and

2. Significant representation of other under-represented groups (“30%”) on Canadian board(s) and senior management.

Why does this matter? Diversity in the workplace simply makes good business sense.

Organizations that are more diverse:

 are more likely to out-perform their peers

 are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets

 are eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes

 will generate and foster fresh insights, new ideas and creative solutions

 will draw on the full talents of their staff and the Canadian workforce at large

Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) has joined the 50-30 Challenge.

As a participant in this program, EFC has access to resources to help our membership enrich their diversity and inclusion strategies. 56% of EFC’s membership has formal diversity and inclusion programs in place. We also know that women only represent 24% of our workforce. This data signals an important need for our membership – and the industry at large – to build bench-strength so we can reach the 50-30 targets.

In the meantime, ‘talent availability’ has been identified by our membership as a top concern. Furthermore, our current workforce composition is not aligned with the total available Canadian workforce. Some say that our industry is ‘not sexy’…however, I beg to differ.

A recent article in The Globe and Mail identified attractive ‘growth sectors’, including segments involved in sustainability/renewable energy, robotics and climate change . Our industry falls into these sectors providing solutions to support the various aspects of these markets.

As an industry, we have the fundamentals for a robust career for all Canadians, however, we need to change our hiring and promotion practices to create the bench-strength we need to compete in the future. We need to look inside our processes and policies to ensure we have the diverse talent and experiences required to succeed.

The 50-30 challenge is a lofty goal for us to strive towards. To achieve this goal, we need to have a view of where we are today – so we can develop a plan for success.

EFC will be collaborating with members to gather data to identify areas of opportunities for program support. We will be addressing measures such as:

• How does the composition of the workforce differ at entry-level versus mid-management versus senior management positions?

• Are diverse candidates applying for positions?

• What is the success rate of diverse candidates in the hiring/promotion cycle?

EFC will continue to support the industry and promote best practices to foster diversity and inclusion based on what the data tells us. At the same time, industry organizations will have to make diversity and inclusion a priority – or else the best and brightest will search elsewhere for career opportunities.

To learn more about the 50-30 Challenge and to explore how your organization can join this important movement visit:

Carol McGlogan is President & CEO, Electro-Federation Canada


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