November 7, 2008
Waterloo – With financial markets in turmoil and a recession looming, some people in business might think workplace diversity issues should take a back seat.
But Beth Grudzinski, vice-president of corporate diversity at TD Canada Trust, disagrees.
“Diversity is imperative to Canada’s long-term success,” she said at a Waterloo Region Immigrant Employment Network forum yesterday.
The network connects new Canadians who are looking for work to employers looking for skilled people.
Grudzinski cited Canada’s rapidly aging workforce as an obvious reason the country needs to have immigrants who are making good wages and contributing their talents and skills to the economy.
“Canada’s changing demographics tell the story that we can’t afford to sit back and wait.”
Unfortunately, even when immigrants are well-educated with professional degrees and are working hard to improve their language skills, they are often stuck in jobs that do not use those skills and talents, she said.
“When immigrants have to take survival jobs, our economy loses,” said Grudzinski.
A diverse workforce is critical to a company’s success, she added.
Grudzinski said TD Canada Trust has made diversity a priority because it realizes that it has to be both an “employer of choice” in attracting and retaining the very best talent, and it also has to be “the bank of choice” for its customers.
“Customers want to see themselves reflected in our employees.”
She related some of the steps the bank has taken to make the workplace more inclusive, such as holding round table discussions with new Canadians “to better understand the challenges these employees face, how to fix those problems and how to do a better job in recruiting them and attracting them.”
There is still much to be done on the diversity front, but “we are on the right track,” she said.
Dalsa Corp., Enermodal Engineering and SunLife Financial were each recognized at the meeting for their efforts in recruiting, training and providing programs to help new Canadians become successful.
Reference: Waterloo Record