Corporate Business Team clapping success at Boardroom meeting

Despite securities regulators’ efforts to promote women’s representation in the boardrooms and executive offices of Canadian public companies, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) published Tuesday finds that progress has stalled.

For the fifth year in a row, Canada continues to rank 10th out of 33 countries in terms of progress on gender equity, according to PwC’s Women in Work report.

According to the global survey of over 3,500 professional women, between the ages of 28 and 48, across all sectors — including close to 250 Canadian participants, Canada continues to face a larger-than-average gender pay gap, says the report, with women earning an average 87¢ for every dollar earned by men.

The survey suggests there is room for progress:

  • 35% of Canadian respondents believe demographic factors such as gender, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation can be barriers to career progression;
    36% believe participating in programs designed to facilitate work-life balance negatively affects their career; and
    less than half believe that their companies are doing enough to improve diversity (48%), or treat men and women equally when it comes to promotions (46%).

These latest findings follow research earlier this year from the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), which found that there has been incremental progress toward greater female representation in corporate boards and executive suites, but that gender parity remains a long way off. Specifically, it the CSA research found that just 4% of CEOs are female at the 648 issuers it reviewed, and just 15% of board seats are held by women.

“There’s mounting evidence to suggest a diverse workforce leads to more innovation and stronger financial results. Creating an environment where women thrive makes good business sense. However, the survey’s results show that there’s still work to do in Canada,” says Jean McClellan, national leader, people and organization practice at PwC Canada, in a statement.

“The takeaway for employers from the report is that every step towards achieving greater gender equality will pay off,” adds McClellan. “Through initiatives such as increased transparency and communication related to promotion and pay criteria, sharing data on the current state of diversity and inclusion (D&I), measuring results and making the necessary adjustments to their D&I strategy, employers will reap the benefits of more trusting and satisfying relationships with their employees.”