Eighty-two percent of women aged 25 to 54 participate in Canada’s workforce, according to Statistics Canada. Despite increasing awareness of women’s roles in corporate decision making, women still remain largely under-represented in political and corporate leadership, at both the global and national levels. As of March 2017, only 15 of the 146 countries studied by the World Economic Forum had a female head of state or government.
The gap is even larger in the corporate world. As of March 2018, there were only 24 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies, and women held only 25% of vice-president positions and 15% of CEO positions, according to the Canadian Women Foundation. Globally, only 15% of all board seats are filled by women despite progress toward the target of having 20% of board seats occupied.
One of the benefits of having women in leadership positions is to foster decision making that’s inclusive and representative of everyone within an organization. Studies show that organizations with female board representation tend to outperform those with no women, according to The Academy of Management Journal.
Women held only 25% of vice-president positions and 15% of CEO positions in Canada.
Our survey shows women tend to expect to be approached for a promotion or pay increase, or shy away from roles where they don’t feel they meet all the criteria. But women are becoming more proactive in negotiating for themselves and seeing results. In our global Time to Talk survey, we observed a strong positive correlation between women who negotiate for a career-enhancing action and getting what they ask for. Sixty-three percent of respondents obtained a promotion and 91% received a pay increase after negotiating for one.
The onus shouldn’t be only on women. There’s also a positive correlation between women whose managers provide career opportunities and women who have confidence in their ability to lead and rise to the most senior levels with their current employer. Formal and informal support networks have been identified as one of the key success factors that support and reinforce a woman’s self-belief and self-advocacy. Only 50% of Canadian survey respondents said their managers advocate on their behalf for promotions.
Sixty-three percent of respondents obtained a promotion and 91% received a pay increase after negotiating for one.
Only 50% of Canadian survey respondents said their managers advocate on their behalf for promotions.
Sponsorship is differentiated from mentorship as sponsors advocate bringing the person to the next level by actively making the case for them. Sponsors may advocate for another person in the organization by doing some of the following behaviours:
Active sponsorship can help identify future leaders and make sure women get the right experience and access to networks to enhance their development.
Develop and share transparent criteria on pay and promotion.
Provide work experiences that accelerate developmental opportunities.
Create a tangible and accountable sponsorship system to recognize good work and give exposure to senior leaders.
Increase female board representation.
Kim Vander Aerschot
Partner, PwC Canada
Tel: +1 416 814 5893