Press release

8 Mar. 2023 Calgary, CA

Innovation and Talent Retention: new report sheds light on importance of DEI to meeting these business imperatives

A diversity, equity and inclusion report on Alberta’s energy and resources industry

Press contact
Victoria McQueen

EY Canada Team Lead, Public Relations

Leading the development and distribution of external communications across Canada. Can be found by the lake in the summer and on the slopes in the winter.

  • Only 20% of Canada's energy workforce self-identify as female
  • One-tenth of respondents believe that DEI has a negative impact on business performance
  • Nearly one-quarter of respondents do not feel there are any barriers to discussing DEI at work

A survey completed by Careers in Energy, done in collaboration with EY, finds that only 20% of Canada's energy workforce self-identify as female, compared to an average representation of 48% across other industries. The information collected from this survey was used to inform several important considerations for the energy and resources industry at the individual, leadership and organizational levels to effectively promote DEI in the workplace.

“The cumulative impacts of a multiyear industry downturn, lower demands following the pandemic, and structural shifts in the energy and resources industry resulted in many workers retiring or leaving the sector in search of stability,” explains Karleen Batty, Energy & Resources Market Strategy & Transactions Leader at EY Canada. “When looking to expand their workforce, organizations should consider how they can prioritize DEI to both attract and retain talent, adopt inclusive succession planning strategies, achieve gender balance and represent Canada’s diverse labour market.”

Two interesting findings became apparent from the survey around the perception of DEI in organizations. Firstly, the survey found that 10% of respondents believe that DEI has a negative impact on business performance (defined as the ability of employees to complete their roles, the quality of work produced, and an organization’s ability to procure customers and/or vendors), with 66.6% of these respondents representing leadership or management positions. This correlation is noteworthy as those in managerial roles typically have more exposure to or influence on organizational policies, including those related to DEI.

“Without buy-in and commitment to DEI at these levels, policies and practises to attract and retain new generations of skilled employees may be compromised, leading to a high turnover rate, lack of organizational loyalty and perpetuation of discriminatory attitudes or biases,” shares Batty.

Secondly, the survey revealed that when asked if barriers exist to discussing DEI at work, the most common result (24%) was that respondents do not feel there are any barriers. For respondents who do perceive barriers to discussion, the most common responses were identified as a fear of making coworkers uncomfortable (18%), feeling uncomfortable about discussing the topic themselves (12%) and not believing that DEI is relevant to their job and/or team (11%). Based on these results, it’s important to consider the possibility of invisible barriers that may be impacting these perceptions.

“To effectively address the war for talent in the energy and resources industry, it’s essential to have authentic leaders who set the tone from the top, lead inclusively and have the capabilities to forge ahead in a disrupted environment,” says Batty. “Embedding DEI into their culture to increase diverse thinking and innovation, ultimately allows companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and allow employees to thrive.”

Read the full Fueling Inclusion report for more information on diversity, equity and inclusion in Alberta’s energy and resources industry. 

For further information: Nicolette Addesa,, 416-941-3336.

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