Annual employment equity report highlights progress and opportunities towards broader diversity

2021 Employment Equity Report provides the most robust dataset on UBC’s workforce demographics to date.  

Based on the November 1, 2021 data snapshot and 19,347 as the total number of faculty and staff at UBC, the survey had a 66 per cent faculty and 79 per cent staff response rate at UBC Vancouver, and 77 per cent faculty and 81 per cent staff response rate at UBC Okanagan. The 2021 survey campaign yielded the highest response rates observed at both UBC Vancouver (74 per cent) and UBC Okanagan (79 per cent) campuses since 2016. That year, the response rates were 68 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively.  

As a voluntary survey, encouraging employee engagement with the survey is critical to obtaining a robust data set. The results, produced by the Equity & Inclusion Office and the Planning and Institutional Research Office (PAIR), provide valuable – but not the only – indicators of UBC’s progress on the Employment Equity Plan and commitments to equity and inclusion.

“The Employment Equity Survey helps us understand progress on diversifying our workforce. It allows us to find areas where we need to continue to enhance the recruitment of faculty and staff from historically marginalized groups,” says Arig al Shaibah, Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion.

Analysis of 2021 data suggests strong representation of women across UBC’s workforce, when compared with regional and national comparator data, though opportunities to continue to diversify UBC’s workforce across other designated equity groups. For example, people with disabilities continue to be underrepresented across all occupational groups at UBC’s Vancouver campus; however, at UBC Okanagan, representation of this group exceeds the proportion of persons with disabilities available in both the regional and national workforces.

“Making progress will require that we more systematically embed equity and inclusive excellence practices through search and selection processes”, says Arig, as she points to a number of initiatives designed to support these efforts – the JEDII STEM Series and the Hiring Equity course, designed to build individual and unit-level understanding of and capacities for inclusive hiring, and the special programs to recruit among under-represented groups. “We also need to make more visible our commitment to accessibility and accommodation supports available to prospective and existing employees with disabilities.”

With respect to racialized employees, the data suggest that UBC’s Vancouver campus workforce exceeds national labour market availability but falls short of regional availability, while at the Okanagan campus, the workforce exceeds regional and falls short of national availability. As well, the data suggest a need to further diversify UBC’s workforce at senior leadership levels.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to Antiracism and racial equity, there is a focus on increasing the representation of racialized employees at all levels, with an emphasis on closing equity gaps for Black faculty and staff”, says Arig. “Complementary efforts focused on supporting the experience, development, advancement, and retention of marginalized faculty and staff at UBC are equally important”, highlighting opportunities to nominate and include greater numbers of racialized faculty and staff in emerging leaders’ development programs, to apply an equity lens to the design and delivery of leadership development programs, and to better support and mentor existing racialized leaders.

“While we focus on recruitment practices, we recognize that the quality of workplace experiences and a sense of belonging is critical to retention and success of those who are here.”

Arig also notes that “in addition to this data, we gather insights from community members through various feedback mechanisms and forums. Employment equity survey data adds to those important qualitative data points by offering a comprehensive, university-wide quantitative overview – both are important to our efforts to assess systemic barriers and disparities in proportional representation, and undertake  workforce planning efforts.”

The annual report also highlights key initiatives underway to advance the UBC’s Employment Equity priorities, most notably the goal of improving employment equity data collection, analysis and reporting.

2021 marked the first time these data were centrally collected via Workday, its implementation a component of UBC’s Institutional Renewal Program. “I’m now part of the 2022 count,” reflects Arig, on completing the survey as part of her recent onboarding tasks in Workday. “The survey takes just a few minutes to complete yet is tremendously impactful to our aim to enhance data-informed decision-making”.

While UBC’s employment equity data is typically released earlier in the year, the publication of 2021 data was delayed due to enhancements to data collection, management and analysis systems and processes, and the longer than expected time required to reconcile historical and new datasets. Following the 2021 reporting cycle, we expect that forthcoming reports will be available earlier in the year.

Processing and analysis of 2022 employment equity survey data is currently underway and an annual report forthcoming in 2023.

Employees can complete or update their survey responses at any time by resubmitting the survey at this live link.

Units and leaders that are looking for specific employment equity data can submit a request for consultation with our office.

Primary program / implementation team 

Designated Groups

Defined in the federal Employment Equity Act, designated groups include women, indigenous peoples, racialized peoples and people with disabilities. While people with minoritized gender identities and sexual orientations are not identified in the Act, UBC recognizes that people with diverse sexual and gender identities may also have experienced discrimination in the above areas and has sought to additionally gather this data.

Explore more terms in our glossary.