It’s the right thing to do, CEO Gordon Nixon says, and the smart thing, too

Tara Perkins

If the thought of Bay Street banks conjures up armies of middle-aged white men in suits, you might be surprised to learn that Canada’s financial sector has some of the best diversity programs in the country.

True, the investment banking and trading parts of the business have few women, and certain visible minorities remain vastly underrepresented across the industry. But substantial progress has been made.

Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank, hired its first woman, a Vancouver stenographer named Jennie Moore, in 1902. These days, the bank takes diversity very seriously.

It quantifies its goals. For example, when candidates are chosen for management jobs that could one day become executive roles, the goal is to have one woman or minority individual on the list. At the executive level, one in two staffings should be a woman and one in five a visible minority. RBC, which has 52,500 employees, also has set up cross-cultural training, mentorship programs and employee resource groups. It works with non-profit agencies to hire newcomers to Canada.

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Reference: Globe and Mail

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