The term "visible majority", will soon apply to most of the population of Toronto. Eventually, being Canadian will mean being diverse. Here is an article that was published in January 2006 that address the impact of this significant demographic shift.
DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFTS: NEW CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR CANADA’S VISIBLE MINORITY YOUTH by Richard H. Pinnock, MBA
IF YOU ARE IN UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE TODAY, you are no doubt always striving to finish at the “right” end of the bell-curve. There are facts and figures and theorems and so much to cram into your brain. Achieving excellence is very competitive; and with the soaring cost of education you have to also be worried about your return-on-investment, (or maybe your parents’ return on their investment in you).
Understanding the dynamics of the labour market is key to developing an effective career plan. Within the private and public sectors today, there is a major focus on attracting and retaining the best talent available. Key factors such as the aging Baby Boomers and lowered fertility rates among Canadians have marked the beginning of a significant reduction in Canada’s labour force. Engaging all of Canada’s talent is critical to its future prosperity.
WHERE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH? Nationally, the visible minority population accounts for approximately 13.4 per cent of the total population. Statistics Canada projected in March 2005 that this proportion will comprise the visible majority in both Toronto and Vancouver by 2012. Meanwhile, the 2002 Census reports that only 3.7 per cent of senior management positions in the private sector, and less than 5 per cent of senior management positions in the public sector are held by visible minorities.
A recent survey showed that only 1.7 per cent of all directors on boards across Canada are visible minorities. This apparent under-representation of visible minority talent poses a serious challenge for Canada. It also offers a major opportunity for highly-skilled visible minority students who aspire to become the senior managers and leaders of tomorrow. Until May of this year, there had been very little information or research regarding the impact the growing minority population has had on the Canadian economy.
A Conference Board of Canada report, “Maximizing the Talents of Visible Minorities”, provides the first comprehensive study of this nature: www.conferenceboard.ca/boardwiseii/Signin.asp The study shows that the prevailing belief among many Canadians that the visible minority population, (particularly the growing immigrant population) is made up of lower educated unskilled laborers is false. In fact, the opposite is true.
The Public Service Commission of Canada’s “Recently Hired Visible Minorities” report of February 2002 states, that visible minorities in Canada tend to have higher education levels than persons not belonging to a visible minority.” The children of these new immigrants and those of second - and third - generation visible minority immigrants continue to follow their parents’ “golden rule” – that above all else, you must get an education.
Once students graduate from university, they immediately face new challenges for which their academic experience may not totally prepare them. This is particularly true for the visible minority students who may not have been exposed to an abundance of senior management role-models in their community. Without significant representation in these roles, it’s little wonder that many visible minority students may not have the same level of comfort and business acumen that others may have through their network of contacts.
Students should seek out organizations such as INROADS (www.inroads.org), who partner with business and industry to help prepare visible minority and Aboriginal youth to accelerate into positions of leadership. Become tuned in to the new opportunities that are available to you. The time to start planning your career is now, while you are still at school. The importance of demonstrated leadership through volunteerism and extra-curricular activities cannot be overstated. Of course, nailing down an internship at one of Canada’s top companies is what will really set you apart from the crowd.
Richard Pinnock is the Managing Director of INROADS. He was born in Montreal and has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill along with an MBA from York University. Richard has 20 years of professional management experience spanning the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Richard Pinnock can be contacted at email@example.com To learn about INROADS, visit www.inroads.org or call 416-512-0929.
1. Statistics Canada: Population Projections of Visible Minority Groups, Canada, Provinces and Regions, 2001 to 2017- www.statcan.ca/bsolc/english/bsolc?catno=91-541-XIE
2. Bente Baklid, Allison P. Cowan, Judith L. MacBride-King and Aretha Mallett, "Business Critical: Maximizing the Talents of Visible Minorities – An Employers Guide", Conference Board of Canada 2005 3.
3. See p.25 of Career Options Magazine 2005/2006 WORKPLACE DIVERSITY www.careeroptionsmag.com