GTA residents link diverse leadership with economic growth

June 5, 2013 - All News

Staff Report
Our inability to have a leadership more representative of our diversity may be impacting our economic prosperity, a recent study indicates.
A significant majority — fully 79 per cent — of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents sees diverse leadership as having a positive impact on our ability to attract investment from other countries. Yet six out of ten GTA residents believe this representative leadership is lacking in our city.
Women are more likely than men to consider this an issue of concern (64 per cent vs 58 per cent).
The findings are in a DiverseCity/Nanos Research report released recently, called Public Opinion on Diverse GTA Leadership.
“Unprompted, respondents to the poll could cite a wide variety of benefits when the city’s leadership reflects the diversity of the population,” says Nik Nanos, President & Chief Executive Officer, Nanos Research. “For example, nearly three in four respondents thought there would be a positive impact on the GTA’s ability to be innovative in business.”
Adds John Tory, co-chair of the DiverseCity project: “GTA residents are quite clear that they want to see a more balanced representation by population in leadership positions. They feel that equal representation will move the GTA toward becoming a ‘world-class city’ — a centre of culture that has a well-represented multicultural community.”
Recent studies have found that visible minorities and under-represented immigrant groups make up nearly 50 per cent of the GTA’s population, but only 14 per cent of its leaders.
While most respondents (75 per cent) thought it likely that the GTA’s leadership would be reflective of the population in the future, they also agreed that it could take a long time (almost 19 years, on average), and many indicated that change should be expedited (65 per cent).
“It’s encouraging to see that most residents call for action on reflective GTA leadership,” says Ratna Omidvar, co-chair of DiverseCity. “In fact, we should move faster on this issue to take advantage of the economical and social benefits that diverse leadership will bring to our city region.”
DiverseCity is working to accelerate change through a number of practical initiatives, including DiverseCity Fellows, onBoard and School4Civics. The initiatives are expanding networks, strengthening private and public institutions, advancing knowledge and tracking progress.
Public Opinion on Diverse GTA Leadership: Research Findings and the Path Forward is the seventh report in the DiverseCity Counts research series measuring the levels of diversity in leadership in the GTA.
This latest report details the findings of a telephone and online survey of 1,000 GTA residents aged 18 and over. It was conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of DiverseCity between April 10 and 22, 2013, and is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.
DiverseCity Counts itself is an initiative of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, a project of Maytree and CivicAction, funded in part by the government of Ontario. With its practical initiatives, the project seeks to change the face of our region’s leadership.
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