Studies show that diverse teams in the workplace lead to greater innovation, a positive impact an organization’s bottom line, a slew of recruitment and retention benefits and increased employee commitment. In my industry, the electricity sector, however, women still represent only 25 per cent of the workforce. Furthermore, fewer than 13 per cent of practising licensed engineers are women. In the trades, that number is plummets to fewer than five per cent. Although the proportion of women in the industry is rising, it remains well below the Canadian average.
To fix this disparity, Electricity Human Resources Canada, in consultation with industry stakeholders, developed the Leadership Accord for Gender Diversity for the Canadian electricity industry. While organizations are increasingly establishing diversity initiatives, it is leadership (and specifically the CEO that needs to champion this change — especially given that their actions signal the extent to which diversity is valued in an organization. So we made it an integral component to the Accord process that the CEOs must sign the certificate of commitment and declaration.