Participation in tech occupations by race and sex

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Percentage of the those in Canada employed in a tech occupation by visible minority and sex, 2016

What is this metric and why is it important?

The technology sector plays an important role in Canada’s innovation economy and provides interesting innovation opportunities and the potential for good incomes for those it employs. We present here the rate at which people participate in these occupations, dissaggrated by racial identity and sex.

How is Canada doing?

  • While 7.8% of all employed men in Canada were employed in technology-intensive occupations in 2016, only 2.1% of all employed women were in these occupations, making women nearly four times less likely to work in such occupations. 
  • Of employed racialized minorities, 7.6% worked in tech jobs in 2016 versus 4.4% among those who do not identify as a racialized minority.
  • Among men in non-Indigenous racialized groups, participation was highest among those who identify as Chinese (18%) or West Asian (13.9%), and lowest among those who identify as Black (7%) or Filipino (6.1%).
  • Métis (2.27%), First Nations (1.59%) and Inuit (1.28%) peoples have the lowest tech participation of any racialized group.

Metric discussion

In previous work, the Brookfield Institute defined tech occupations as those that involve a high degree of technology development or use. This has the benefit of including occupations in non-tech sectors that are focused on tech development, implementation, and use, but excludes less technology-intensive jobs in technology companies, such as finance and marketing. Nevertheless, to the extent that tech occupations are those at the frontier of technological innovation and implementation, understanding who holds those occupations is essential to understanding inclusive innovation.  

Racial identity is composed of two distinct dimensions for Statistics Canada: visible minority and Indigenous identity. Those counted as visible minorities are “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." Those considered visible minorities are then broken into further categories. It should be noted that for the purposes of sex, Statistics Canada refers to biological sex and not gender.


The aggregation of different groups into the category of “not a visible minority” makes certain comparisons difficult. Additionally, the lack of a distinct category for those who identify as “White” or “Caucasian” impairs analysis.

© Inclusive Innovation Monitor 2021