Canadian Manufacturing

Dramatic decline of representation of women in pipeline to senior management roles in Canada, report

by CM staff   

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Third annual report card with the largest-ever number of companies focused on representation of women in leadership roles alerts corporate Canada to take action.

TORONTO — The Prosperity Project’s third Annual Report Card on Gender Diversity and Leadership: The Zero Report finds that in the midst of return-to-work as the pandemic subsides, representation of women in leadership roles is in jeopardy, and even more so for women with an intersecting identity (racialized, Indigenous, living with disabilities, or 2SLGBTQIA+).

The representation of women at the senior management and pipeline to senior management levels both decreased (2.8 percentage points and 11.9 percentage points, respectively). These declines should serve as a warning that if more organizations don’t take action and commit to recruitment, hiring and promotion strategies that promote gender equality, Canada stands to lose even more women in leadership roles over the next decade.

The Prosperity Project’s Annual Report Card is the only Canadian scorecard which tracks progress of women in leadership positions in Canada’s largest (by revenue) public and private companies, crown corporations and others through an intersectional lens. It paints a comprehensive and transparent picture of 17,974 leaders who are women at four key management levels (corporate director, executive officer, senior management and pipeline to senior management) who have self-identified as white, women of colour, Indigenous, Black, living with disabilities and/or 2SLGBTQIA+.

“The Prosperity Project was created to address the fear that women would be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and the results of the most recent survey unfortunately confirm this with the drastic decline of women in pipeline to senior management roles,” said Pamela Jeffery, Founder and CEO, The Prosperity Project. “Gender equality is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and unless corporate Canada changes course, a generation of Canadian women who are poised to move into leadership roles will disappear.”

The Annual Report Card reveals encouraging results in the two most senior leadership roles: women represented slightly more than one-third of corporate director roles (34.8 per cent), maintaining the 2022 representation (34.2 per cent), and the representation of women in executive officer roles rose to 32.3 per cent in 2023, from 29.2 per cent in 2022.

Women of colour hold 9.4 per cent of women-held leadership roles, and while this is an increase from 2022 (6.2 per cent), there is still more work to be done. Indigenous women and Black women remain below 1 per cent representation with 0.3 per cent and 0.9 per cent, while 2SLGBTQIA+ women and women with disabilities rose slightly to 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

The survey, available in English and French, was completed in November 2022 by 98 organizations in sectors including financial services, mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, transportation, retail and utilities.

The full report can be found here.

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