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Friday News Round Up: Nov. 3, 2017

Here are some stories that caught our eye this week:

Toronto’s housing costs are a barrier to attracting talent

The Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBT) published a survey this week which noted that 83 per cent of young urban professionals believe high rents and home prices are preventing them from saving for retirement. Additionally, 65 per cent believe of urban professionals surveyed believe their shelter costs are preventing them from paying down debts.

TRBT CEO, Jan De Silva, spoke to the Toronto Star about the survey findings. In his interview, De Silva pointed out that while urban living costs haven’t reached a crisis point yet, they’re a barrier to attracting young talent to Toronto. The survey was reportedly prompted by members of the business community who expressed concerns over talent retention and the supply of appropriate housing for workers.

TREB October data release

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) released their October 2017 housing data this week. Takeaways from the data release include:

  • October saw a 12 per cent increase in home sales from September 2017, but a 27 per cent decrease in sales compared to October 2016

  • Average selling price  increased 2.3 per cent month-over-month (October’s average selling price was $780,104)

TREB President Tim Syrianos noted the above-average increase in in sales from September to October, which TREB has taken as a sign of stronger fall market conditions.

In other TREB news, U.S. real estate website, Zillow, is looking to expand into Canada. As part of their offering, Zillow would like to provide their users with property selling price histories along with standard property information. To do this Zillow will face off against TREB and other local real estate boards who have  advocated for real estate agents to have exclusive access to this information in the past.  Keep an eye out for a decision on this dispute by the end of this week.

Industry survey finds Canada’s tech sector lacks gender diversity

Despite being lauded for its innovations, Canada’s tech sector needs to move the dial on increasing female representation in leadership positions. According to a survey of over 900 Canadian tech firms, women fill only 5 per cent of CEO roles and 13 per cent of executive team positions. More than half of the firms surveyed, 53 per cent, have no female executives at all. Women also account for only 8 per cent director roles, and 73 per cent of boards have no female representation at all.

When asked, tech leaders cited a “lack of female role models” as a barrier preventing female tech talent from rising up the ranks. Others caution against tokenism, which leads firms to promote women based on their gender and not their talent.  Needless to say, Canada’s tech sector has some serious catching up to do!

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