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More than half of Indigenous Canadians have experienced workplace discrimination: Survey

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January 9, 2024
By Talent Canada

More than half of Indigenous Canadians (58.6%) have experienced discrimination in the workplace, according to a new survey by ComIT.org.

A similar number (56.2%) said they have downplayed their backgrounds to “fit in better at the workplace,” according to the survey of 500 Canadians who identify as Indigenous. The survey was created to “take a pulse check of current workplace prejudices and concerns for Canadian Indigenous communities and Indigenous Canadians working in the IT sector.”

“In many ways, the stats around bias and discrimination are the most concerning,” said Pablo Listingart, founder and executive-director of ComIT.org. “If Indigenous Canadians are being cast aside or locked out of even applying for jobs, we clearly have a long way to go to ensure an even playing field.”

The survey also revealed that:

  • 61.6% think they are less likely to be promoted simply because they’re Indigenous
  • 97.2% said there is a lack of representation of Indigenous voices in C-suite positions in the tech industry
  • 62.4% have experienced bias when applying for a job
  • 33.8% chose to not list being Indigenous on their social media profiles.

Asked what the main barriers to follow a career in digital skills would be, Indigenous Canadians surveyed said:

  • 54% — Lack of access to education for economic reasons.
  • 52.2 — Having to move away from my community / Lack of remote job opportunities.
  • 43.8 — Lack of support from my family to pursue that type of career.
  • 38.2 — Lack of access to remote alternatives of education.
  • 31.8% — Unreliable connectivity / No internet in my area.

“In recent years, significant attention has been devoted to addressing the connectivity infrastructure challenges faced by Indigenous communities in remote areas,” said Listingart. “While this remains a crucial issue requiring attention in North America, our survey highlights a broader range of concerns perceived as more pressing by those who responded. These include the absence of remote job opportunities and remote education options, which are crucial for enabling people to remain in their communities and actively contribute to the well-being of those around them.”

ComIT.org is a registered charity that provides free training and professional development opportunities in information technology.

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