Building a Better Wealthsimple: Our Diversity & Inclusion Update

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It’s been a year since we published, here in our Magazine, a set of commitments to make Wealthsimple a better, more representative, more fair, more inclusive place to work. One of the commitments we made was to update our progress every six months, whether what we had to report was positive, negative, or neither. So here we are with update number three about how we’re doing.

We are more diverse than we were a year ago

We believe in data. It’s how we run our business, and it helps inform how we build our culture. So it makes sense that one of the ways we hold ourselves accountable is to measure who we are as a team. Twice a year, our entire team is invited to participate in a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) survey. The one we completed most recently shows our workplace is becoming more reflective of the community we live in.

This time last year, 38% of employees self-identified as racialized. In October 2020, that was up to 45%, and now that number is 53%. Of those employees, 10% identify as Black (for comparison, 3.5% of Canada as a whole identifies as Black). That’s twice the percentage we reported last fall. And it aligns with our Black North Initiative commitments to increase the representation of Black Canadians within our teams.

Part of what we’ve learned in the last year is that creating a truly diverse team doesn’t happen because you hope it will. It’s the product of work. We increased our financial commitment to our partnership with BPTN (Black Professionals in Tech Network) for 2021 to expand our hiring network. And we made some changes to our overall hiring and interview process, including sourcing candidates outside our traditional networks and making sure people with different backgrounds and identities were part of the interview and decision-making process.

We are increasing gender diversity

A great deal of tech industry jobs - software developers, financial analysts and pretty much every STEM job there is - have historically been dominated by men. Our commitment is to help change those dynamics. Women should expect equal representation at Wealthsimple and the tech industry at large.

The good news is we’re getting closer to that goal. Today, 27% of our Engineering, Data Science, and Portfolio Management teams self-identify as women, up 4% from the beginning of the year.

We also continue to invest in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) dedicated to anyone who identifies as a woman, non-binary or other gender identities. And this year, we launched an initiative led by our Rainbow ERG to help “out” Wealthsimple as an employer of choice to the 2SLGBTQ+ community - including being a Gold level sponsor for QueerTech’s inaugural Qareer’s fair.

We are working with more diverse voices

We see our Magazine as a collection of voices who help educate Canadians about our human relationship to and experiences with money. But we can only do that if those voices reflect the diversity of experiences in our community. Our goal is to have 20% of Magazine contributors be people of colour. In the last six months, 20.5% of new stories we assigned were written by racialized writers, and 46.1% of illustrations were assigned to racialized artists.

We are building an inclusive workforce

It’s about more than numbers and percentages. Making Wealthsimple an inclusive environment where everyone feels they can do their best work is our goal. Here are a few things we’ve accomplished:

  • We are introducing pay transparency guidelines. We’re using something called pay bands so that employees at all levels understand how their compensation is calculated and there’s more transparency about the process.

  • Mental health is a huge component when it comes to how we are all able to feel included at work. That’s why we’ve introduced a new set of benefits for accessing mental health practitioner services.

  • At the recommendation of our Rainbow ERG, we recently added Gender Affirmation Benefits which provides financial support to employees going through a gender transition.

Where we fall short (and what we’re doing about it)

Our DEI employee survey isn’t just a feel-good tool. It also gives us valuable feedback — good, bad or even ugly. And the results of our most recent survey told us that, while we made a lot of improvements, there are still a few places we’re falling short. Here’s where we need to do better:

  • Our goal is to have 3.5% of executive and board roles based in Canada made up of Black leaders by 2025. While 33% of our 9-person executive team are women and 33% are racialized, none identify as Black or Indigenous. This is an area we have failed at so far and are continuing to work on.

  • We have work to do in terms of increasing our representation of Indigenous peoples in our workforce. We’re working on a longer-term strategy as a next step and will share more in our next update.

  • In our survey, racialized women said they did not feel their voices were heard. They also reported a lower sense of belonging. Black employees felt even less sense of belonging. We recently launched a partnership with an external agency to understand why these dynamics exist and to help us change them.

That’s where things stand now. Our next Diversity & Inclusion survey goes out in October 2021, and we’ll be sharing the results with you in this space in January 2022. Here’s to continued progress.

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.

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