More women holding top corporate positions: Report

8 per cent of highest-paying executives held by women

Female leaders at Canada's biggest public companies are increasing in number, according to a report by global executive search firm Rosenzweig & Company.

Eight per cent of the highest-paying executive positions are held by women, almost double the 4.6 per cent in the first survey commissioned eight years ago.

The Rosenzweig Report on Women at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada — which tracks the 100 largest publicly traded companies in Canada, based on revenue, and examines how many of the top-paid leadership roles are held by women — is being greeted with guarded optimism, said Jay Rosenzweig, managing partner of Rosenzweig & Company.

"Guarded because the corporate world is still largely dominated by men but optimistic because there is a trajectory of positive change. We choose to believe that the glass is half full and the tipping point is near."

Women leaders at large Canadian companies are still the exception, not the rule — as they are in most of the world — but the upward trend is encouraging, he said.

“There are clear signs that things are changing — from shareholders, boards of directors and governments encouraging change to women themselves asserting their talents and making it known that they want these top jobs. Half of Canada's provincial premiers are now women and they're governing 87 per cent of the population. We're seeing female leaders emerge everywhere and the corporate world will be no different."

This year's report clearly indicates a positive trend, said Leslie O'Donoghue, executive vice-president of corporate development and strategy and chief risk officer of Calgary-based Agrium.

"The more women achieve a presence in the boardroom and within the executive ranks, the more their value and contribution will be recognized in the corporate workplace, paving the path for other women to succeed."

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