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Posted on Monday, May 15, 2017
According to the recent Hays Gender Diversity survey, Canadian women are equally ambitious to men, but are 27 per cent more likely than men to be dissatisfied with their current seniority, and 26 per cent less likely to say they are able to promote themselves at work.
Respondents reported 86 per cent of organization heads are men, as are 72 per cent of line managers. How can Canadian organizations improve gender balance in leadership, and find policies to help retain all top talent?
It is well known that organizations that both recognize and harness the different experiences and opinions of their workforce outperform those that are less diverse and inclusive.
These organizations are also better placed to attract and retain talented professionals. At a time when skills shortages are an increasingly critical issue across many industries around the globe, companies need to take action to increase access to the recruitment of diverse, talented individuals.
In our third annual Hays Canada Gender Diversity report we once again shine a light on some of the reasons why women, who represent a very significant proportion of the existing and future workforce, often experience very different and sometimes lesser career opportunities to men.
While we have seen slight improvements in perceptions of career opportunities year-on-year, the perception of pay equity has gotten worse and in many cases employers are still not doing enough to narrow the gender divide in the workplace. While the gender of a line manager should have no impact on male or female employees, employers need to be aware of the effect that a male and female line manager can have on how employees feel about their perceived ability to self-promote, their career opportunities, and pay.
Furthermore, as management and senior roles are still typically male-dominated, there is a lack of role models which can be detrimental to female ambition. As this report has shown, a female line manager increases a woman’s perception of equal pay and equal career opportunities. Companies should be aware of the importance of role models to female employees.
With a prime minister who considers himself a feminist and appointed a gender-equal cabinet, Canada has seen some positive momentum in the highest office. However, according to this year’s survey results we have a way to go before we reach true equality. Women are still out-numbered in senior leadership, and make up just one-in-six company heads.
International research shows that companies with better gender equality perform better. For example, gender equality lobby group Catalyst found that Fortune 500 companies with a higher percentage of women on their board see higher return on equity, return on sales, and return on investment capital. The business case is there, but Canadian business leaders will need to be proactive to address these imbalances.
Employers need to recognize the commercial and societal benefits of a more gender-diverse workforce and prioritize actions that will improve gender diversity. Additionally, men need to recognize that there is a significant difference between men and women’s perception of gender diversity and they must be willing to tackle these issues. Without backing from male colleagues, it will be much harder to work towards gender equality in the workplace.
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