Fewer than 1 per cent of staff working in B.C.'s tech sector self-identify as Indigenous: survey

The CEO of a B.C. tech firm says there is a “lot of labor to do” within the tech sector on the subject of the variety of Indigenous folks employed.

Josh Nilson, CEO of East Facet Video games in Vancouver, is Métis and grew up in northern B.C., simply exterior of Prince George. When he was rising up, he mentioned he “by no means thought tech was even an possibility” till he took a website-making course at Capilano Faculty and “stumbled into expertise.”

“That is one thing that we have to discuss extra in our studios … to attempt to change that,” Nilson mentioned. “We have now received to start out on these small steps to vary the narrative and begin speaking about this.”

HR Tech Group, a not-for-profit group that gives knowledge, labour market info and assets for B.C.’s tech sector, surveyed 134 tech firms in B.C. and located solely 0.5 per cent of staff self recognized as Indigenous.

In 2019, the group partnered with the provincial authorities to create the Range and Inclusion Tech Mission, which focuses on bringing extra various folks and views to the trade.

A analysis report by HR Tech Group discovered that Indigenous peoples account for lower than one per cent of the tech trade’s workforce. (CBC )

“We have now to have the ability to speak with media and trade and authorities to succeed in out to children and say tech is an possibility,” Nilson mentioned. “I feel, exterior of Vancouver and Victoria, it’s extremely restricted, particularly northern B.C., for folks to even know that they may work in video games or expertise.”

He mentioned as a approach to increase consciousness, he is made an effort to attempt to discuss his path to his present profession and operating a sport studio.

“It’s potential and I am simply making an attempt to inform my story so hopefully any individual sees me and says, ‘hey, possibly I may very well be that man.'”

‘A unicorn within the trade’

When Harley Knife, a senior animator at Yeti Farm Artistic in Kelowna, noticed the info on the variety of Indigenous folks employed within the province’s tech trade, he mentioned he felt “optimistic.”

“That quantity is ridiculously low,” Knife mentioned. “It feels bizarre seeing that quantity however it additionally makes me optimistic to know that we will make that quantity far larger than 0.5 per cent.”

Knife, who’s Cree, mentioned after seeing the shortage of Indigenous folks within the trade, he realized he wanted to be extra vocal about who he is and what he does for a residing.

Harley Knife identifies as Indigenous (Cree) and has been employed as a senior animator at Yeti Farm in Kelowna for the previous seven years. (Harley Knife)

“As I began seeing this quantity, it lit a hearth in my coronary heart to actually push the truth that I’m Indigenous, working in such a bizarre profession, making cartoons for a residing,” Knife defined.

“It feels form of such as you’re a unicorn within the trade as a result of there’s not numerous us on the market.”

Nilson believes the “trade can work collectively to repair it” and studios can begin to create a protected area for Indigenous folks to really feel comfy and be themselves.

“That is one thing that must be pushed by management, it could actually’t be a field that you just tick off. It must be one thing you essentially care about.”

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