Canadian women are more confident and ambitious in the workplace than ever before, but still face barriers to success, according to a global survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) LLP to mark International Women’s Day.
Specifically, 83% of Canadian women surveyed have faith in their ability to fulfil their career aspirations while 71% are actively seeking career advancement opportunities.
Still, a considerable percentage of women surveyed pointed out that they remain confronted with challenges. For example, 38% of women feel nervous about the impact starting a family would have on their careers.
Furthermore, 35% of women believe that an employee’s diversity can be a barrier to career progression and 36% are worried that taking advantage of work-life balance and flexibility programs would make them appear less devoted to their careers.
“Having more top female talent represented at all levels of business is key to the success of our economy,” says Bill McFarland, CEO and chief inclusion officer with PwC Canada, in a statement. “As leaders, we have an important role to play in accelerating progress on gender equity and the advancement of women by educating ourselves and our teams on unconscious biases; engaging in thoughtful dialogue around the challenges and opportunities for greater inclusion; and coaching and sponsoring top female talent.”
These barriers to career advancement likely account for why so few women hold leadership positions.
For example, Grant Thornton International Ltd.’s annual Women in Business Report found that the percentage of businesses with at least one woman in senior management has risen to 75% in 2018 from 66% in 2017, but the proportion of senior roles held by women has dipped to 24% from 25% over the same time frame.
“Many business owners struggle to foster true diversity and inclusion,” says Dawne-Marie Macleod, partner and chairwoman at Grant Thornton Partner, in a statement. “It’s important that they move beyond policy and focus on the vital role leadership and culture can play in creating real progress in gender balance.”