Plus, six challenges facing women at Wealthsimple, and what we’re doing about it.
Illustration by Wealthsimple

Our Leadership Team Still Wasn’t Diverse Enough. So We Changed Our Hiring Strategy

Wealthsimple makes powerful financial tools to help you grow and manage your money. Learn more

Back in June 2020, we published a list of commitments to make Wealthsimple more inclusive — to make our company better, of course, but also so that we can serve you, our clients, better. We know that a diverse and equitable workforce will help us be a more responsive, wiser company as we work to democratize wealth for all Canadians. Among our commitments were things like changing our hiring practices, and bringing in experts to help better educate our workforce. We also promised to share regular updates on our progress. Which is what we’re doing right now.

First, a Recap

In June 2021, we reported that we had increased the percentage of Wealthsimple employees who self-identify as racialized, changed our hiring processes to source candidates from outside our traditional networks, and improved gender representation within our tech teams. What’s more, we introduced new mental health and gender-affirmation benefits, and rolled out pay transparency guidelines.

Some Recent Encouraging Stuff

Since our last update, we’ve continued to make progress toward our commitments. A few highlights:

  • Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh joined the team as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Her job is to deepen our DEI practices; to develop strategies to bring about systemic, sustainable change; and to ensure that we develop clear metrics to help hold us accountable in our progress.

  • Nearly 31% of employees on our Engineering, Data Science, and Portfolio Management teams are women, up from 18% in August 2020. On our Engineering team alone, the number of women, non-binary, transgender, intersex, two-spirit, or gender-non-conforming employees rose from 20.5% to 30% in the past year. In leadership roles, that number rose from 5% to 24%.

  • In 2021, Wealthsimple Magazine met its goal of having at least 20% of our assigned writers and artists be racialized.

  • Our Employee Resource Group program has continued to grow and bring about positive change. Rainbow, which represents Wealthsimple’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community, worked with our People team to introduce gender-affirming language in the workplace, and raised thousands of dollars for community organizations. Meanwhile, our BIPOC employee-resource group has held events on Indigenous allyship and on raising awareness about Islamophobia.

  • We hosted a session where Lori Campbell, Associate President of Indigenous Engagement at the University of Regina. A proud, two-spirit Indigiqueer woman, and a member of the Montreal Lake First Nation, Campbell shared her story as an intergenerational survivor of the residential school system and as a child of the Sixties Scoop generation.

  • We expanded , a peer-mentoring program that enables women from across the company to share experiences and receive sponsorship from senior company leaders, to help them grow both personally and professionally.

Where We’re Still Falling Short

All those things are great, but there’s still work to be done at Wealthsimple. One crucial area where we hope to see improvement is in the representation of racialized folks at the director, VP, and executive-team levels — senior leadership, as we call it. As of January 2022, 33% of our 77-person senior-leadership team was racialized, with 8% of those folks belonging to Indigenous, Black, Latin American, Middle Eastern, North African, or West Asian communities. Our goal is to get that first number up to 38% by mid-2023 and for two-thirds of racialized candidates to come from the low-representation ethnicities listed above. We also aim to increase gender diversity among senior leadership from 42% to 45% by mid-2023.

What We’re Doing About It

Ensuring our leadership team is diverse can’t be left to good intentions. That’s why we created a new senior-leadership hiring strategy, which includes practices to encourage equitable and diverse hiring and to mitigate bias. Every candidate on the shortlist for a senior-leadership role, for one, will go through a DEI-specific interview to ensure that we’re hiring folks who are invested in building diverse, inclusive teams and in fostering equitability. We also plan on collecting dynamic demographic data throughout the company to better understand who among our team members is thriving, being promoted, and sticking around, as well as who’s leaving the company. We look forward to sharing more details in our next update.

We Audited Women’s Experiences at Wealthsimple

Aligned with our diversity-in-leadership efforts, we’re in the process of conducting a company-wide audit to identify and address areas where bias exists, especially concerning marginalized communities. As part of that effort, we partnered with the consultancy group Feminuity, to help us better understand women’s experiences at Wealthsimple. Previous diversity and inclusion surveys showed us that women tended to have disparate — that is, worse — employee experiences than men. Feminuity wrote a qualitative report on why that was happening and identified ways we can improve.

Here are six main barriers to inclusion that women, especially racialized women, have encountered within our organization, according to Feminuity’s research:

  1. Lack of representation in leadership

  2. Poor work-life balance

  3. Inclusive mindset (i.e., too much gatekeeping by white colleagues)

  4. Not enough psychological safety

  5. Lack of recognition

  6. Too much “glue work

The Feminuity report drove home that Wealthsimple needs to go further, beyond performative acts of allyship, to improve working conditions and to hold leadership accountable for ensuring that women feel empowered and supported. In response to these findings, leadership teams are in the process of drafting action plans to address the differences in employee experiences at Wealthsimple. Doing so will give company leaders time to reflect on the Feminuity report, create commitments to address problem areas, and establish accountability metrics that they will share with their teams to ensure that everyone’s feedback is taken into consideration. We don’t want this to be a top-down effort.

We Won’t Settle for Just Good

Ultimately, our north star is redefining what “good” looks like when it comes to the success of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Wealthsimple, and in the financial-tech space more broadly. Because we believe good isn’t enough, we want to be great. We don’t have all the answers yet, and we still have a long way to go, but we’re bent on meeting our commitments. We want to build the world’s most human financial company, and we know that having a workforce that reflects the diversity of our clients is key to how we'll get there.

Wealthsimple uses technology and smart, friendly humans to help you grow and manage your money. Invest, save, trade, and even do your taxes in a better, simpler way.

The content on this site is produced by Wealthsimple Media Inc. and is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be investment advice or any other kind of professional advice. Before taking any action based on this content you should consult a professional. We do not endorse any third parties referenced on this site. When you invest, your money is at risk and it is possible that you may lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Historical returns, hypothetical returns, expected returns and images included in this content are for illustrative purposes only.

Money Diaries

"I DON’T KNEEL DOWN AT THE ALTAR OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. THAT’S NOT FOR ME."

Spike Lee Tells Us Why He Never Feels Bad Asking for Money

subscribe

Get the best stories from our magazine every month

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • News

    Listen to Our New Podcast!

    We call it the Wealthsimple Magazine Podcast. How did we come up with the name? We’ll explain, but the short answer is: high-priced naming consultant.

  • News

    Announcing Canada’s First 🔥 Way to Pay Your Friends Instantly

    Download the new Wealthsimple Cash app, and seven seconds later you can pay rent, split the bill, or settle up with the dog-walker in an instant. And it’s totally free.

  • MEET WEALTHSIMPLE

    A new kind of financial company

    Invest, trade, save, spend, and even do your taxes in a better, simpler way.

    see-more cta
  • News

    How Wealthsimple Trade Didn’t Break During GameStop

    Lots of trading platforms went down during the meme-stock bonanza. Why didn't Wealthsimple Trade? We sit down with Karney Li (CTO) and Dominique Simoneau-Ritchie (VP of Engineering) to learn how you can grow by 1,000% without blowing up.

  • News

    Meet Wealthsimple Tax

    The change has happened. The clock’s struck midnight. SimpleTax is Wealthsimple Tax. So now you can do your own taxes, pay what you want, and get the biggest refund, guaranteed.

MEET WEALTHSIMPLE

A new kind of financial company

Invest, trade, save, spend, and even do your taxes in a better, simpler way.

GET STARTEDright arrow icon

Our best stories, once a month.

Sign up for our newsletter

The content on this site is produced by Wealthsimple Technologies Inc. and is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be investment advice or any other kind of professional advice. Before taking any action based on this content you should consult a professional. We do not endorse any third parties referenced on this site. When you invest, your money is at risk and it is possible that you may lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Historical returns, hypothetical returns, expected returns and images included in this content are for illustrative purposes only. By using this website, you accept our (Terms of Use) and (Privacy Policy). Copyright 2022 Wealthsimple Technologies Inc.

;