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Diversity. Inclusion. Equity.

All of these words are synonymous with one thing: opportunity. The opportunity to express and be yourself and to be respected for the person you are. The opportunity to thrive in life and be accepted. The opportunity to have the same advantage as the rest of the population regardless of race, gender, religion, status, or sexual orientation.

Over the years we have significantly increased diversity in the workplace. However, the technology sector, in particular, still has a long way to go in order to be truly inclusive. The disparities in place are still overwhelming, especially in larger tech companies like Amazon, which opted to not report their demographics of its tech workforce. Amazon stated that almost 42 percent of its workers were women and almost 42 percent of its US workers were black or Latino ending in 2018. However, those numbers include the vast majority of Amazon’s 647,000 employees and include those that work in its distribution centers, making it hard to determine how many of those employees are working in tech.

Facebook was the winner for diversity growth over the last five years. Their technical workforce is 23 percent female, up from 15 percent in 2014. Their overall racial & ethnicity diversity ratios were the highest growing with 41% of their tech force being a visible minority in 2014 up to 52% in 2019. While we have seen incredible efforts by many companies, other companies are letting us down. Some have gone so far as photoshopping women into pictures, as was the case with a picture from the GQ CEO summit from summer.

Another aspect of diversity that often overlooked and nearly always underrepresented in the tech sector is age. At HubSpot, 64% of the workforce is age 26-35 with only 3% of their staff aged 46+. Considering the 46+ population is the largest in history, these numbers are shocking and appalling.

The Solution?

At Sage, we make it a part of our company’s mission to ensure we recruit for diversity. In 2019, almost 40% of the hires made with the help of Sage were females, and almost 60% were minorities. Our biggest challenge is finding candidates that are over the age of 46, though we have been successful working with several candidates in this age group this year. To hire for diversity takes a concerted effort by the company doing the hiring. More and more STEM programs are starting across the country and more females and visible minorities are getting into these programs than ever before. According to an ongoing study by StatsCan from 2010 through 2015, 44% of first-year STEM students in Canada were women. Despite departures from the program, women still accounted for more than 40% of those who graduated from a STEM program or continued to a sixth year of STEM studies. A large part of attracting a more diverse pool of applicants lies in the branding of your company. More than 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even filling out an application. Recruiting diverse talent alone isn’t enough — there should be an equal focus on creating a culture of inclusion, where employees feel both valued and empowered.

Recruiting for diversity begins with fostering an inclusive environment. The primary way to showcase your commitment to diversity is through your company’s advertisements, job postings, corporate website, and above all else, by your team. Pay attention to the verbiage used in job postings; simple things like the use of masculine pronouns should be replaced with gender-neutral pronouns such as “the person”, or “the candidate. In addition, using extreme language like “expert”, “dominant”, or “compete”. Instead, using words like “motivational”, “tireless”.

As we mentioned in a previous article, acquiring talent is the easy part; retaining them requires hard work. The number one way to foster an inclusive workspace is to diversify your senior and executive teams. A diverse senior leadership team shows promise of opportunity and fosters the promise of growth opportunities that aren’t limited. Another way to encourage a diverse and inclusive environment is to celebrate differences. Small things like a potluck or acknowledging cultural celebrations of coworkers is a great way to not only showcase diversity, but to learn about other groups. If there is an intent made to make this a priority, solicit ideas from your team for activities outside of maintaining diversity statistics & filling seats.

Building an inclusive workforce isn’t an option; it is a responsibility. The benefits that a more diverse team can bring to organizations are instrumental in the success of the teams and the organization. Here’s to many more strides in diversity for 2020!



The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) commissioned Lpsos to conduct a survey in May to reveal Canadian’s perceptions on the current direction of the Canadian healthcare system and their level of acceptance to technology being integrated more rapidly into their healthcare. Its findings suggest a more technological-based approach should be implemented to reduce the generation gap with patients’ wants and needs.

On average, the report shows those within the Google Generation (people between the age of 18 and 34) are visiting doctor’s offices more frequently – up to 11 times per year – and are more eager to embrace new technology to assist in monitoring their personal health.

Utilizing wearable monitoring systems such as Fitbits and other smartwatches, as well as phone apps to track heart rate, blood pressure, diet and sleep habits have created a more informed patient pool. CMA urges the implementation of new policies, and encourages the system to embrace technological enhancements quickly due to the large impact this generation is having on present and future healthcare.

CMA President, Laurent Marcoux, Ph.D., said “Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual monitoring provide an opportunity to address the health needs of the Google Generation as they embrace technology in all facets of their lives.

“The way this generation manages and tracks their health is much different than any other demographic group,” Marcoux said. “To ensure we are ready to tackle this new wave of tech savvy patients; we need to have the right policies as well as action plans to [futurize] our healthcare ecosystem.”

Implementing virtual doctor visits, and the use of AI are tactics the Google Generation believes could help lead to more timely care, convenience and overall quality of care. However, 6 in 10 Canadians are excited about the incorporation of this new technology, but would only trust a diagnosis if delivered by a physician.

There are issues with privacy and ethics that 7 out of 10 Canadians believe haven’t been fully thought out in regards to AI usage in healthcare, and 67 percent are worried about losing the human touch factor.

Nevertheless, the implementation of technology within the Canadian healthcare system is necessary in order to match the demand of the evolving generations.

“We need to look at this information as a warning sign,” Marcoux said. “Every generation presents a new challenge to our healthcare system, but with the Google Generation, healthcare is about convenience and timeliness, and the current system does not provide for that.”




The blue light emitted from the screens of cell phones and computers could accelerate blindness, according to new research.

Ongoing exposure to this light triggers a reaction in the eye’s light-sensitive cells that can speed up damage from macular degeneration, a relatively common condition in older adults. It can cause blurred or no vision in the center of the visual field, a study published in the journal Scientific Reports found.

“We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it,” Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant professor in chemistry and biochemistry at The University of Toledo, said in a statement.

It’s no secret that blue light harms vision by damaging the eye’s retina, but this experiment explains how this happens. Karunarathne said he hopes a better understanding of the mechanism behind the damage can lead to therapies that slow this incurable eye disease.

Macular degeneration is caused by death of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Typical onset starts between age 50 and 60. It is the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., and can impair daily life.

Tasks like reading the newspaper or driving a car might become more challenging or no longer possible for people who suffer from the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Karunarathne’s lab found that if a blue light is shined on the retina, a reaction occurs that generates poisonous chemical molecules that can kill photoreceptor cells.

“It’s toxic,” Kasun Ratnayake, a PhD student researcher working in Karunarathne’s cellular photo chemistry group, said in a statement. This is particularly troubling because photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. “

“When they’re dead, they’re dead for good,” Ratnayake said.

A molecule called alpha tocopherol, a Vitamin E derivative and a natural antioxidant in the eye and body, can stop this destruction. But as a person ages, people lose the ability to fight against the attack.

“That is when the real damage occurs,” Karunarathne said.

People who want to protect their eyes from blue light should avoid looking at their cell phones or other blue-light emitting devices in the dark and consider wearing sunglasses, Karunarathne said.

Some cell phone companies are adding light filters that might be able to mediate damage to the eye said John Payton, visiting assistant professor in the The University of Toledo Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The lab is now measuring light coming from television, cell phone and tablet screens to get a more nuanced understanding of how the eyes respond to everyday blue light exposure.

“We hope to find a way to protect the vision of children growing up in a high-tech world,” Karunarathne said.

Original article can by found on newsweek.com.

Written August 11, 2018


By Karen Graham

New research from IDC Canada finds that Canadian executives need to embrace digital transformation and risk-taking to remain globally competitive, and the rate of adoption varies widely when it comes to major tech trends.

Toronto-based IDC Canada is a provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

IDC Canada found that many Canadian retailers are at risk of falling behind in embracing digital transformation, with 77 percent of companies having no strategy for innovation.

“Building Success in the Digital Economy” is based on interviews with 31 representatives from Canadian enterprises with revenue of more than $500 million, supplemented by other insights from IDC Canada. The study was sponsored by SAP Canada, one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world, helping businesses of all sizes, in all industries run better.

The whole basis of the research brings home the fact that digital transformation seems to have hit a low point, possibly due to poor leadership, disconnects between IT and the business, lagging employee engagement, and substandard operations.

Tony Olvet, the vice-president of research at IDC, said they found in case studies that the real front-runners in digital transformation stand apart, suggesting that people within the company have embraced the technology and are comfortable enough with it to sway other people’s opinions.

“There were individuals, not necessarily at the very top, but key players within the organization that are able to connect the dots and facilitate innovation in different business units,” Olvet said.

“They’re learning from those early implementations and also bringing those to other parts of the business, so digital front-runners are effectively building out their capabilities once they’ve done those proofs-of-concept.”

And while this is all well and good, what about the companies that have remained complacent, figuring on keeping the status quo simply because they are doing alright the way they are? The report says companies need to pick a strategy.

“Organizations will need to choose between weathering the storm, developing digital transformation competencies and becoming a disruptor, and becoming a fast follower of disruptors,” the report says.

Competition and customer demand

As Forbes points out, there is nothing as easy as shopping at Amazon. And Amazon is one business entity that has not only embraced digital technology, but it has transformed the way businesses and customers interact.
Olivet is very blunt in the report – and uses retail stores as an example, citing the success of Amazon against all its competitors. He says that while it is important to be aware of the international competition, it is also important to be attuned to shifting customer demands.

“I think the message is that you cannot be complacent,” he said. “Even though Amazon is not a Canadian-based organization, it just shows the international flavor of digital disruption.”

The report also points out that of the five big digital technologies, Cloud, IoT, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchain, the common denominator is data. And keep in mind that in every sector of today’s economy, businesses can find more value and insights in their data to improve profitability, particularly when it comes to industrial applications.

But IDC Canada found that only 32 percent of Canadian enterprises see IoT as an important need for maintaining a competitive advantage.

“I would say we still have a bit of a conservative streak in us, in that we are dipping our toe in the water,” said Glenn Sawyer, director of IoT digital transformation with SAP Canada. “I don’t think we have adopted the technology as aggressively as the U.S. has, or in Europe.”

Conservative streak? It may be more than that. Research by the Information and Technology Council (IOTC) suggests one of the principal reasons for this conservative streak is the lack of skilled workers who can assess and implement technological innovations.

As the workplace becomes more digital, the requisite skills for a successful worker are evolving. In this dynamic environment, every professional needs to be comfortable with both digital technologies and business processes.

Original article can be found on digitaljournal.com

Written July 22, 2018


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