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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Hold the Key to the Bio-Economy’s Talent Shortage

Scientists working in lab-BioTalent Canada
Sponsored by:
Scientists working in lab-BioTalent Canada
Sponsored by:

DE&I may just be the solution to the country’s talent shortage in the bio-economy.


Canada’s bio-economy is likely to require 65,000 additional workers by 2029. However, companies will be challenged to fill positions due to a highly competitive labour market, relatively low awareness of bio-economy careers, and in many cases, an ongoing lack of HR capacity or capital to attract and retain candidates.

Despite this clear need for talent, many small- and medium-sized employers in the sector still overlook under-represented groups for their recruitment. For example, the number of women working in the bio-economy is disproportionate to the number of women who graduate from STEM programs. According to BioTalent Canada’s recent National Labour Market Information study released in 2021, women’s enrolment in college-level STEM and health programs has remained at around 50 per cent (as of 2018–19). Yet, women comprise only 34 per cent of Canada’s bio-economy workforce.

Hiring from under-represented groups like women will do more than meet labour needs. Diversifying the bio-economy’s workforce will also help companies in the sector become more creative and successful. Research shows that diverse companies with inclusive leaders are better able to attract and retain top talent, making them more innovative and more profitable.

To support employers in adopting more diverse and inclusive principles, BioTalent Canada’s new I.D.E.A.L Biosciences EmployerTM recognition program — which represents inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility leadership — will recognize organizations in Canada’s bio-economy leading the way in embodying the diverse and inclusive corporate principles needed to promote growth and success in the sector.

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