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Digital Economy Leaders and WCT Commit to “Up the Numbers”

Ottawa, May 2nd, 2016.  Leaders from some of Canada’s leading communications and technology enterprises joined WCT (Women in Communications and Technology) today in a new initiative to increase the engagement of women in the digital economy.

Up the Numbers is a new WCT program that enlists digital employers to report their metrics on the engagement of women in various roles and at various levels in their organizations.  WCT will collate this information and provide an annual report establishing benchmarks on an industry-wide basis.  The report will provide guidance on opportunities for improvement and chart changes in gender ratios year over year.    The Up the Numbers initiative also includes WCT working with companies, governments and academic institutions to establish best practices and strategies to recruit and advance women in the digital economy.

“The level of engagement of women in our digital industries has been stuck at around 25% for over a decade,” said Lynda Partner, Chair of WCT and Vice-president Marketing for Pythian, one of the companies leading the initiative. “Recent data suggests that our numbers are actually declining.  So it’s time to finally address this problem in the same fashion that digital companies use to address problems for themselves and their customers; by collecting the data, analyzing it, establishing where we are, setting targets for where we want to be and executing a plan.”  Phythian is an Ottawa-based data consulting and services company employing 400 people and is one of the companies leading this initiative along with Telus.

“Canada’s digital talent pool is not as robust as it needs to be”, said Joanne Stanley, Executive Director of WCT. “We’re going to need to fill about 180,000 new jobs by 2019 and we’re at virtually full employment today.  We simply have to do a better job of attracting and retaining women if we want to fulfil our aspirations for a leading digital economy.  It’s time to start pooling our data to create a clearer picture of where we are as an industry and a nation.  We all know that what gets measured gets done.  So let’s get measuring and start solving this problem.”

“At TELUS, we believe that fostering a work culture that ensures open and fair processes for the advancement of talent drives better business outcomes, and contributes to the progression of a stronger economy,” said Sandy McIntosh, Executive Vice President, People & Culture, TELUS. “We strongly support the objective of increasing diversity at all levels and, as a public Canadian company, have a sharp focus on the representation of women in senior leadership roles. With empirical data informing more specific and robust diversity strategies, we can accelerate diverse representation not only in digital, but across many industries.”

Ms. Stanley called upon all digital employers to participate in the Up the Numbers campaign.  “We are launching a relatively simple data collection process.  By aggregating numbers that many leading employers already produce and report we can create useful comparative metrics for employers themselves as well as for our whole economy.  I believe this simple step can finally make change happen and I challenge all digital employers to join us in upping the numbers,” she said.  WCT expects to release it’s first Up the Numbers Report in the fall of 2016.

 

About WCT
Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) is a national association committed to helping women in Canada learn, build strong relationships and advance in communications, media and technology. WCT provides opportunities for its members to network, be mentored, get access to targeted educational opportunities and be recognized for their contributions to Canada’s digital economy. 

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