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Dec 12, 2012

Glass ceiling persists in Canada’s boardrooms: Survey

Women lagging in salary, promotions, decision-making
    
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Female business leaders in Canada are still facing a glass ceiling, according to a survey by Randstad Canada.

“While equal opportunity in the Canadian workplace has progressed substantially over the years, much work still needs to be done when it comes to removing any and all gender issues in the workplace,” said Hanna Vineberg, vice-president Central Ontario at Randstad Canada.

Canada's female managers and executives are still seeing a divide on a range of factors when it comes to the differences between men and women in the workplace, with salary topping the list.

Seventy-seven per cent of those polled felt there remained a moderate or large divide between the financial compensation a man receives in a leadership role, compared to what a woman receives in the very same position. On the other side of the spectrum, just seven per cent said that women's workplace salary is perfectly equal with their male equivalent, while 16 per cent said they notice a small divide, found the survey of 500 female executives.

On a regional basis, this is felt more in Ontario (83 per cent very large or moderate) than anywhere else in the country. Sixty-seven per cent of Quebecers, on the other hand, felt there was a very large or moderate divide, showing more parity in the market than anywhere else in Canada. In fact, Atlantic Canada was the only region in Canada where more than one in 10 (13 per cent) responded that salary was equal for both men and women.

Moving up in the organization also seems to bring about the same divide as salary, with 92 per cent of those women polled feeling there was at least some divide in the opportunities for men and women to be promoted. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) felt the divide continues to be moderate or very large.

In fact, more than 70 per cent of respondents in every region in English Canada felt there remained a substantial divide in how women and men are considered for promotions, while three in five Quebec respondents (62 per cent) felt this to be the case. Additionally, none of Alberta's respondents felt that women had an equal consideration for promotions when considered directly with men.

A similar divide is also seen in terms of decision-making, where 70 per cent of those polled felt that men are much more likely to be given the opportunity to make important decisions than women.

There also remains a wide gap in the perceptions of Canadian women as to who gets the best assignments in their workplaces. Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) feel that men are still frequently assigned the best jobs, tasks or projects compared to women in similar roles, with those in British Columbia (73 per cent), Ontario (71 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (70 per cent) feeling this is frequently the case.

Even when it comes to business travel, there is still a divide between men and women. More than four out of five women (83 per cent) still felt than men are given somewhat more travel opportunities than women, with one-half of those polled (53 per cent) feeling there remains a very large or moderate divide when it comes to business travel.

"The persistence of the glass ceiling makes it particularly difficult for organizations to hold on to their best and brightest women,” said Vineberg. “Dismantling the glass ceiling requires an accurate understanding of barriers to advancement that women are facing.”

    
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