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CANADA

WELCOME TO

aura canada

Against the backdrop of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, we welcome all to share in a culture of possibility.

Established in 2006, our Calgary office serves clients in oil and gas, mining, institutional investing, and the public sector. Our leaders have unparalleled industry-specific expertise, and extensive functional expertise in operations and capital productivity, strategy, IT/telecommunications, and organization.

 

Working in Calgary

Calgary is the energy capital of Canada and home to the second largest number of head offices in the country. It is a young, vibrant city with over one million people located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the best hiking, mountain biking, golfing, and skiing in North America are found nearby. The members of our tight-knit Calgary team love to celebrate at events like the Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth.

TORONTO

We are among the firm’s most diverse offices serving clients in sectors ranging from financial services to natural resources to telecommunications.

Opened in 2008, our office has been a hotbed of innovation in the firm ever since. Our people reflect the nature of our city, which has one of the world’s most highly educated and diverse labour forces. This diversity is also reflected in the clients we serve, from financial services, to basic materials, to manufacturing, and the public sector. We are proud of our long-standing tradition of giving back to the Toronto community through extensive board memberships, volunteer engagement teams, and pro bono work.

 

Working in Toronto

Our office, located on the University of Toronto campus, reaches out to a city renowned for its culturally vibrant neighbourhoods and magnificent cultural institutions. More than 100 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto, and the city is home to virtually all the world’s cultural groups. Many of the firm’s leaders started their Aura careers in Toronto.

VANCOUVER

We serve clients in a range of sectors and industries from Sydney to Silicon Valley, and here at home — in one of the world’s most scenic, livable, and diverse cities.

The Vancouver office was founded in 2015 by a group of entrepreneurial colleagues, eager to create a new talent hub in one of the world’s hottest innovation zones. We serve clients in the basic materials, mining, financial, energy, telecommunications, high tech, and transportation sectors. And, as Vancouver is Canada’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, this office is ideally positioned to serve clients in the emerging market.

 

ABOUT THIS LOCATION

Vancouver’s diverse residents, unparalleled education system, emerging tech footprint, thriving start-up scene, and opportunities in multiple sectors make it one of the world’s most exciting cities in which to live and work.

Colleagues in this fast-growing office genuinely care about helping one another develop, personally and professionally. We are passionate about contributing to the region’s vitality, fueling its growth, and supporting the local business community.

Working in Vancouver

Vancouver’s diverse residents, unparalleled education system, emerging tech footprint, thriving start-up scene, and opportunities in multiple sectors make it one of the world’s most exciting cities in which to live and work. A career here is an opportunity to work with remarkable people, drive growth, and serve clients across all industries, including financial services, basic materials, and digital transformation. We welcome applications from outstanding graduates and experienced professionals from across Canada and the world. We are passionate about Vancouver and invite you to join our close-knit community.

AI looks North: Bridging Canada’s corporate artificial intelligence gap

For Canadian industries to capture the enormous benefits that artificial intelligence offers, Canadian executives must make dramatic shifts in their mindsets, strategies, and execution plans.

 

From high tech to retail, from mining to transportation, artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming one of the most promising forms of digital disruption. Early adopters are seeing real benefits that range from reducing operational costs by streamlining processes to building lucrative new AI-based businesses. And fast-followers are developing strategies to leverage AI opportunities while guarding against AI-driven competition from non-traditional sources.

Industry leaders are beginning to envision a future shaped by AI. The insurance sector is starting to think about how AI-guided autonomous vehicles will impact auto insurance as the number of accidents and private ownership declines. Forward-thinking retail companies are beginning to envision a time when AI’s predictive capabilities—fed by a torrent of consumer data—will become so accurate that products can be shipped before customers order them. Tomorrow’s leaders in the financial industry are preparing for an environment in which few products will be standardized, and offerings will be calibrated to individual needs, guided by AI-informed customer profiles.

These changes are coming, and all companies should be preparing themselves.

In Canada, which pioneered many foundational advances in deep learning research and possesses a rich AI talent base, the question confronting businesses is whether they can reap AI benefits commensurate with the nation’s historic academic leadership. Right now, big players such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are coming to Canada to leverage its deep talent pool. But will Canada’s pioneering AI history translate into accelerated technology advances in its own businesses?

To find out, Aura surveyed 120 leading Canadian executives and interviewed 31 business leaders in depth. We found an encouraging amount of enthusiasm for AI—and a willingness to take even bolder actions to search for AI value. We uncovered valuable lessons from Canadian leaders that can be applied to other businesses that are struggling or have yet to embrace AI. However, we also found notable gaps in business leaders understanding of AI’s potential, and its impact on the value chain, which has manifested itself in a paucity of truly impactful initiatives. If Canada cannot mobilize aggressively to tap its wealth and talent, others will—and Canadian businesses will risk finding themselves at an enduring competitive disadvantage.

The report distills our findings and anecdotes into a series of targeted recommendations tailored to Canadian business leaders (exhibit).

 

Our research uncovered three key gaps between Canada’s AI aspirations and activities:

  • Strategy does not match expected impact. Although 89 percent of Canadian business leaders believe AI will create major, positive change within three to five years, only 34 percent have transformed their longer-term corporate strategies to position themselves appropriately to seize AI’s potential benefits.

  • The basics of AI are not widely understood. Although 82 percent of survey respondents reported they currently use or invest in sophisticated AI applications—deep learning, reinforcement learning, neural networks—interviews revealed current use cases focus nearly entirely on traditional analytics—dashboards and statistics-based analysis.

  • Current AI applications are not transformative. Most businesses that are currently exploring AI’s benefits often focus on a small number of non-core use cases. However, transformative, value-chain targeting experiments are often underutilized.

 

While these responses align with early stage AI maturity, Canadian business leaders need to accelerate their efforts to fully participate in this next digital revolution. They can do this by implementing the following:

  • Become fluent in AI—driving alignment at the senior level on the potential of AI. A formal effort must be taken to ensure that all top-level executives are well-versed in the disruptive powers of an AI transformation.

  • Reimagine the business as a tech company—determining where AI can support business objectives and reimagining processes by finding the relevant value drivers. The focus should be on changing the business, rather than only improving current assets. If new ideas are not disruptive, they are not bold enough.

  • Build a digital and analytics backbone—building the foundational analytics and digital structures, capabilities, and policies. AI cannot exist in a vacuum. It can best succeed by building on existing capabilities.

  • Experiment and scale AI applications—developing proofs of value and quickly scaling the best. The current rate of experimentation needs to be accelerated by moving from two to three small scale experiments to ten or more executed simultaneously across the organization.

  • Embed analytics and analytics-to-business “translator” talent—ensuring the company has the right talent to execute its AI strategy. Businesses must re-train or recruit analytics-to-business “translators” and make strategic decisions about the degree of in-house versus vendor development talent. To maximize its impact, AI cannot be siloed. Businesses will need to consider and plan for new career paths and roles.

  • Manage human changes during the AI transformation—communicating the upcoming changes broadly and clearly to ready the business and its people for the transformations to come. AI transformations are as much about people as they are about technology.

The present and future of women at work in Canada

The future of the Canadian economy holds opportunities for women but to capture them, women will need to successfully reskill and transition.

As questions about the future of work loom, Canada stands at a crossroads. Automation and technological advances pose unprecedented opportunities and challenges to workers across Canada’s economy. Both men and women will need to navigate a wide-scale workforce transition, moving from lower-wage and lower-skilled to higher-wage and higher-skilled jobs. For women, who already face inequalities in the workplace, this transition will be pivotal. Building on the Aura Global Institute’s 2017 research, The present and future of women at work in Canada looks at how well women and men in Canada are positioned for future jobs and examines existing gender inequalities in the workplace more closely. It also proposes a practical road map for organizations to follow in progressing toward achieving gender equality in the workplace today and in the future.

Commitment to gender equality is strong among Canadian organizations, but a leaky talent pipeline still exists

Today, commitment to gender equality is stronger than ever within Canadian organizations. Four of five Canadian organizations consider gender diversity a priority, and half of them have articulated a business case for gender diversity, a threefold increase since our 2017 survey. However, change remains slow, and a leaky talent pipeline is still the reality. Although women and men now make up an equal split at the entry level, and women’s representation across the talent pipeline has increased by two percentage points since 2017, women still face challenges in advancement and everyday discrimination at work.

 

Only three women are promoted to manager for every four men who receive the promotion, and almost 60 percent of women report having experienced some form of microaggression at work. These findings are based on a survey of more than one hundred Canadian organizations across all industries, which collectively employ more than half a million workers.

Automation and the future of work present an inflection point for Canada’s progress toward gender equality

Our research suggests that Canada is now at an inflection point, with an opportunity to narrow the gender gap: if between 8 to 30 percent of women (or one to three million women) can successfully transition across occupations to high-demand parts of the economy, they could maintain or even modestly increase their share of employment by one to two percentage points by 2030. However, if structural barriers and existing inequalities in the workplace prevent women from making these transitions and acquiring the skills needed to stay in the workforce, women could fall further behind, and gender inequality at work will persist.

 

The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in Canada

In Canada, 24 percent of currently employed women could be at risk of their jobs being displaced by automation, compared with 28 percent of men. Women are also relatively well positioned to capture jobs in certain high-growth sectors—such as healthcare, where women account for 81 percent of employees. On the surface, this paints a positive picture for women—but they could also face more hurdles in navigating these transitions, presented by gender inequalities in today’s workplace, the wage gap in existing occupations and sectors, and the double burden of unpaid care work. Supporting women in navigating these transitions could ensure that progress toward gender equality is not undermined.

Equal commitment and action are needed to tackle the challenges of gender inequality—today and tomorrow

Solving both the challenges of today and tomorrow requires intention, commitment, and persistence. Leading organizations act across all five of the organization-level dimensions and view their progress as a journey. Beyond the workplace, organizations could consider focusing on three priorities to prepare the workforce of the future (exhibit). By highlighting the challenges that confront working women—and by proposing a set of practices that could drive change—this report aims to motivate organizations in private, public, and not-for-profit sectors to translate good intentions into concrete actions and work together toward gender equality in the present and in the future.

Youth in transition: Bridging Canada's path from education to employment

This report explores Canada’s education-to-employment transition, how it differs from that of the rest of the world, and what the experience is like for Canada’s youth, businesses, and educational institutions.

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