Canada’s progress on gender equality at a standstill For the 5th year in a row, Canada ranks 10th out of 33 in OECD countries

11 Dec 2018

Toronto, December 11, 2018 – For the past five years, Canada has ranked 10th out of 33 in the Organisation for Economic Co-operative Development (OECD) countries when it comes to progress on gender equality according to PwC Canada’s Women in Work report. Despite efforts to increase women’s representation at the C-suite and boards, Canada’s progress has stalled.

“There’s mounting evidence to suggest a diverse workforce leads to more innovation and stronger financial results. Creating an environment where women thrive makes good business sense,” said Jean McClellan, National Leader, People & Organization Practice at PwC Canada. “However, the survey’s results show that there’s still work to do in Canada.” When organizations focus on diversity and inclusion, it has a positive impact on innovation revenues (19% increase), margins (9% increase), bottom line, and talent attraction.

To obtain a snapshot of current workplace dynamics in Canada, PwC conducted a global survey of over 3,500 professional women, between the ages of 28 and 48, across all sectors – including close to 250 Canadian participants.  Some of the data collected suggests that the current state leaves room for progress – for instance:

  • 35% of Canadian respondents listed an employee’s diversity (eg. gender, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation) as a potential barrier to career progression.
  • 36% believe that taking advantage of work-life balance or flexibility programs negatively affects their career.
  • More than half of these women felt that employers could increase gender diversity efforts and should pay more attention to gender equality in regard to internal promotions.
  • Sponsorship of female employees within organizations, where one person advocates for another, is a key success factor that may help enhance their development as future leaders.


Areas for improvement

To close the gender gap, the report indicates two areas of focus: access to leadership roles for women and pay inequality between men and women. Women earn $0.87 for every dollar earned by men, which remains higher than the OECD average. While Canada’s female labour force participation fares well compared to other countries (74% female labour participation), more focus on building stronger D&I strategy and initiatives is needed to further boost the country’s rank.  

“The takeaway for employers from the report is that every step towards achieving greater gender equality will pay off,” adds McClellan.  “Through initiatives such as increased transparency and communication related to promotion and pay criteria, sharing data on the current state of D&I, measuring results and making the necessary adjustments to their D&I strategy, employers will reap the benefits of more trusting and satisfying relationships with their employees.”

The full Women in Work 2018 report can be found by clicking here.

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