Unlocking female talent in your organization

Women in Work Index 2018—Canadian insights

Global trends in diversity and inclusion

Organizations are more committed to diversity and inclusion (D&I) than ever before, with 87% of global organizations pointing to D&I as a stated value or priority area. They’re creating inclusive workplace cultures, where diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds are sought out and used to stimulate innovation in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing market.

Additionally, since the global #MeToo movement has heightened public awareness of bullying and workplace harassment, organizations also see managing D&I as an opportunity to accelerate their people’s potential and avoid reputation risks.

 

Global trends in diversity and inclusion

 

 

Our observations

While it’s encouraging to see government’s initiatives that take Canada to the next level, organizational leaders need to prioritize D&I on their business agenda by taking actions to close the gender gap and make a real impact on women at work.

Based on our experiences and research, we identified three main elements for success:

Tying diversity and inclusion to business goals
1. Tying diversity and inclusion to business goals

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Promoting sponsorship and self advocacy
2. Promoting sponsorship and self advocacy

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Balancing priorities: life, family and work
3. Balancing priorities: life, family and work

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Why pay attention

Bringing together people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds leads to more creative and innovative solutions as well as cost savings.

  • There’s a relationship between diversity and innovation revenue: A recent study by Harvard Business Review showed that the most diverse enterprises were also the most innovative. Companies above-average in six dimensions of diversity (migration, industry, career path, gender, education and age) had 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher margins, on average.
  • The diversity impact was highest for companies that had a high emphasis on digital innovation: With many companies playing digital catch-up, diversity is an underappreciated and underused tool for magnifying innovation efforts and represents significant potential for most companies. While more than half the organizations (59%) use their D&I programs to attract talent or comply with legal requirements, few are connecting them directly to business results, such as innovation or improved financial performance.

 

Bringing together people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds leads to more creative and innovative solutions as well as cost savings
  • D&I improves the bottom line: Eighty-five percent of CEOs who invested in diversity and inclusion programs saw enhanced business performance.
  • Diversity is a key focus for the future workforce: For millennials, an inclusive workplace culture is an important factor when making career choices. Eighty-six percent of female millennials consider prospective employer’s policies on diversity, equality and inclusion.
  • Transparency attracts talent: More than 50% of job candidates say organizations should publically share information about the diversity demographics of their workforce and disclose their organizational gender pay gap as these are factors they consider when selecting an employer.  

“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.”

Jean McClellan, National Leader, People & Organization Practice at PwC Canada
Promoting women in the workplace

Promoting women in the workplace

D&I initiatives should focus on promoting leadership capabilities and building up women in the workplace. Our global Time to Talk survey of 3,627 professional women from across all sectors  gives a realistic snapshot of how professional women feel about their prospects for advancement and what they see as potential obstacles to successful careers. From Canada, 237 women between 28 and 48 years old participated in this global survey. Many women still feel there are limitations due to gender when it comes to pursuing their career aspiration.  

35% of Canadian women believe an employee’s diversity (e.g. gender, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation) can be a barrier to career progression in their organization

35% of Canadian women believe an employee’s diversity (e.g. gender, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation) can be a barrier to career progression in their organization.

 

48% of women agree employers are doing what it takes to improve gender diversity

48% of women agree employers are doing what it takes to improve gender diversity.

 

46% of women believe employers in Canada are treating females equally to males when it comes to promoting from within

46% of women believe employers in Canada are treating females equally to males when it comes to promoting from within.

 

In Canada, there’s still work to do

According to our Women in Work Index, Canada is ranked 10th out of 33 Organisation for Economic Co-operative Development (OECD) countries when it comes to five indicators:

  1. Gap between female and male earnings
  2. Female labour force participation rate
  3. Gap between female and male labour force participation rates
  4. Female unemployment rate
  5. Share of female employees in full-time employment

While our female labour force participation is quite high compared to other countries (74% female labour participation, ranked eighth out of 33 OECD countries), Canada’s position has stayed the same in past five years. There’s a bigger gap when it comes to female leadership role representation as well as between female and male earnings. In Canada, women still earn $0.87 for every dollar earned by men, and this pay gap is larger than the OECD average.

 

In Canada, women still earn $0.87 for every dollar earned by men, and this pay gap is larger than the OECD average

Recognizing the importance of closing this gender gap, the federal and provincial governments have established multiple initiatives and focus areas to promote gender equality. Below are some  highlights of initiatives:

  • A new parental sharing benefit: An additional five paid weeks of benefits when both parents agree to share parental leave. This would provide greater flexibility to new parents, allowing women to return to work sooner, if they choose to, knowing that their families are taken care of.
  • A new Gender Results Framework: The newly established framework with six pillars will guide future decision making and to measure the progress of Canada. One of the key initiatives outlined in Budget 2018’s “Gender Results Framework” is to help create transparency. This government tool will track how Canada is currently performing, helping to define what is needed to achieve greater equality and determine how progress will be measured going forward based on meaningful indicators.
  • More flexible Employment Insurance (EI): The government will extend Working While on Claim provisions to maternity and sickness benefits so parents on leave have greater flexibility to stage their return to work and keep more of their EI benefits.
  • Pay equity legislation: An online mechanism to post existing pay information that shows wage gaps is being developed in federally regulated workplaces.

Private sector organizations can also help close the gender gap by promoting equality.

Forty-seven percent of Canadian respondents identified the following as the top two actions employers should take to improve transparency and trust:

  • creating a fair and transparent promotion and appraisal process
  • providing clear definitions of organizational roles, levels and promotion criteria

Communicating clear promotion and pay criteria, sharing data on current state, and tying metrics to D&I strategy can build a foundation of trust with employees.

 

How we can help

Forces are reshaping the world of work. Business leaders are facing new organizational, talent and human-resource challenges such as global growth, skills gaps, disruptive technologies as well as risk and regulation.

In October 2018, the PwC network was named as a Leader in Talent and Leadership Consulting. As a trusted partner, our People & Organization Practice can help you rethink and design organizational transformation, improve the effectiveness of your workforce and help manage your human capital risks.

Report Contributors

Elaine Chan, Senior Associate, People and Organization
Michelle Shin, Senior Associate, People and Organization
Sarah Sumner, Senior Associate, People and Organization
Winona Bhatti, Associate, Consulting and Deals

Contact us

Jean McClellan

Partner, National People and Organization Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 403 509 7578

Baya Benouniche

Partner, People and Organization, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 514 205 5409

Matt Pittman

Partner, HR Transformation, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 815 5008

Kim Vander Aerschot

Partner, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 814 5893

Mona Ghiami, CPA, CA, BSc

Chief Inclusion Officer, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 687 8467

Penny Partridge

Chief People Officer, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 815 5166

Ellen Corkery Dooher

National Leader, Management Consulting, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 613 755 8721