Technology workers have represented a growing share of Canadian employment over the past 10 years. As of December 2021, there were 1.7 million information and communications technology (ICT) workers employed across all sectors of the economy — around 9% of the total Canadian workforce. These numbers are only expected to increase as the demand for digital skills continues to grow in the digital economy.
In contrast to increasing demand for digital talent, the share of people of marginalized genders in tech remains low (i.e., trans and cis women, and all trans, Two Spirit, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people). For example, despite making up 47% of Canada’s workforce, the share of women in tech has stagnated at less than 30% for the last 10 years. Additional and compounded workplace challenges for women who are Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) in tech occupations further contribute to low levels of gender diversity in the digital economy. Furthermore, while public awareness of gender nonconforming (GNC) people has recently increased along with demands for targeted data collection, the GNC community in tech remains small. These low levels of representation are pervasive, appearing across provincial boundaries as well as internationally in the United States and the European Union.
While gender diversity in the workplace is a complex socio-cultural issue, tech employers can use some simple tools to begin making their recruitment strategies and workplaces more inclusive. This report combines insights from 80+ conversations with experts and a survey of 240 digital economy employers across Canada as well as a synthesis of gender equity literature to identify key challenges and opportunities for tech employers who want to attract, retain, and support entry- and mid- level tech talent.