Women landing more leadership jobs, but racialized, Indigenous and disabled women lag: study

Of note:

The share of women in senior leadership positions at Canadian companies is on the rise despite the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the number of racialized, Indigenous and disabled women in top roles remains small, and many companies don’t disclose any leadership diversity data, according to a new report that is among the first to explore the varied experiences of women in Corporate Canada.

Over all, women’s representation improved between March, 2019, and September, 2020, among 48 public and private-sector companies surveyed by the Prosperity Project, a non-profit founded by a volunteer group of 62 female leaders.

Women held more than 40 per cent of seats on boards of the surveyed corporations as of September, up from 37 per cent in March, 2019. Nearly 31 per cent of executive roles were held by women, up from 28 per cent. More than 80 per cent of the companies also had at least one racialized woman in the pipeline leading to executive office, up from 68 per cent.

But the gains have been uneven. Black and disabled women each made up fewer than 2 per cent of directors and saw their share of executive positions rise from none to 0.8 per cent. Indigenous women made up only 1.6 per cent of executives and just 2.1 per cent of directors, and saw their share of senior positions relatively unchanged over the 18 months.

The toll of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests of the past year have thrust issues of representation and equality into the spotlight. Companies have responded by joining corporate diversity efforts such as the BlackNorth Initiative and the 50-30 Challenge. But the report shows many corporations have yet to turn those efforts into results.

“We know that companies are pivoting and making some really good decisions,” said Kristine Remedios, chief inclusion and social impact officer at KPMG Canada, who is among the Prosperity Project’s founding members. “But I think that there is a lot of hard work ahead for many organizations to actually lift this off the ground.”

The report also exposed how few companies are willing to share gender and diversity data. Of the 120 organizations invited to participate, 72 either declined or didn’t reply.

Many companies complain about survey fatigue, or are reluctant to require employees to self-identify, making it difficult to understand whether employees of diverse backgrounds are experiencing the workplace differently, said Pamela Jeffery, who founded the Prosperity Project. But the biggest barrier to collecting data is often a reluctance among top leaders to set diversity targets and then track their progress, she said.

Crown corporations have actually achieved gender parity in leadership roles, largely because they’ve set specific gender-representation targets and worked to meet them. “They’ve been deliberate,” Ms. Jeffery said. “Those organizations achieve results because they focus on it. They measure it.”

The Prosperity Project is looking to work with other companies on its planned annual report card of Canada’s 500 largest corporations by revenue, and has developed a process to help companies securely collect anonymized data on employees.

Governments and regulators should also require companies to set and disclose diversity targets, rather than allowing them the option of providing reasons why they don’t have targets – a practice known as comply or explain. “There’s been too much explaining and not enough complying,” said Ms. Jeffery, who previously founded the Women’s Executive Network and Canadian Board Diversity Council.

The recovery from the pandemic offers companies a unique chance to increase representation among diverse groups, said BMO’s Ms. Goulet.

She points to a project the bank worked on last year to create an on-reserve Indigenous technology hub at Batchewana First Nation in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. When the pandemic shifted much of the bank’s work force online, BMO turned the project into a virtual hub, opening up job opportunities for Indigenous workers in other remote and northern communities across the country. “I call this the kind of silver lining of the pandemic, in that we now have remote rules that are enabling us to access new and untapped talent nationwide,” she said.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-women-landing-more-leadership-jobs-but-racialized-indigenous-and/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Morning%20Update&utm_content=2021-2-23_7&utm_term=Morning%20Update:%20Parliament%20declares%20China%20is%20conducting%20genocide%20against%20its%20Muslim%20minorities&utm_campaign=newsletter&cu_id=%2BTx9qGuxCF9REU6kNldjGJtpVUGIVB3Y

Lente marche vers la mixité [corporate board diversity]

May have missed the english media coverage:

C’est droit devant, inexorablement. Les gains sont là, mais la marche vers la mixité des conseils d’administration et de la haute direction demeure lente. On l’imagine, la cible se veut encore plus éloignée lorsqu’on élargit le parcours de la représentativité à la diversité.

La plus récente étude sur la question de la diversité a été publiée lundi par l’Institut sur la gouvernance d’organisations privées et publiques (IGOPP). Sur la mixité, on y lit que « même si les gains réalisés au cours de la dernière décennie sont notables, il reste beaucoup à faire en matière de représentativité des femmes sur les conseils d’administration (CA) ainsi qu’au niveau de la haute direction des entreprises ».

L’IGOPP proposait, il y a 10 ans, une cible de 40 %. Une référence mondiale situe, d’ailleurs, la zone de parité hommes-femmes optimale au sein de l’équipe de gestion entre 40 et 60 %. Cette représentation féminine a, certes, presque doublé depuis 10 ans, mais, à un peu plus de 29 % au sein des conseils d’administration des grandes entreprises inscrites en Bourse et à 26 % au niveau de la haute direction, on se retrouve encore loin de la cible.

Que dire des minorités visibles, qui comptent pour 22 % de la population canadienne, mais qui occupent moins de 5 % des sièges aux conseils et moins de 9 % des postes de haute direction ?

Le regard de l’IGOPP a porté sur 76 entreprises d’incorporation fédérale pouvant représenter le tiers des sociétés composant l’indice boursier S & P / TSX. L’exercice vient mesurer un premier effet des modifications apportées par le gouvernement à la Loi canadienne sur les sociétés par actions ayant pour objectif « d’augmenter la diversité observée au sein des conseils d’administration et de la haute direction des sociétés inscrites en bourse », en vigueur depuis janvier 2020.

Outre la présence des femmes, ces modifications visaient plus large en s’étendant à la représentation des peuples autochtones, des personnes handicapées et des personnes qui font partie des minorités visibles, explique l’Institut.

Cet élargissement suit l’entrée en vigueur, au 31 décembre 2014, de la réglementation sur l’Information concernant la représentation des femmes au sein des conseils d’administration et des instances des émetteurs assujettis. Au Canada, les autorités de réglementation n’ont pas retenu la formule de quotas, préférant plutôt une approche de divulgation s’étendant à la haute direction selon la formule « se conformer ou
s’expliquer ».

L’on parle donc d’un engagement moral, mais non contraignant, qui s’insère cependant dans une mouvance plus généralisée d’adoption des critères environnementaux, sociaux et de gouvernance auprès des investisseurs reconnaissant la portée et la contribution de la diversité.

Beaucoup à faire

Certes, l’exercice de l’IGOPP comporte ses limites et l’on admet une probable surévaluation de la représentation mesurée pour les postes de haute direction, mais l’on peut se faire une idée sur le chemin restant à parcourir et sur le rythme de renouvellement des administrateurs et des hauts dirigeants, qui constitue un frein aux yeux de l’IGOPP.

Et l’on retient que seulement 47 % des entreprises observées s’étaient dotées de cible à atteindre en matière de représentativité des femmes au sein des CA. À peine 18 % se sont fixé des objectifs précis touchant la haute direction.

Ce constat vient rejoindre d’autres études sur le sujet. En décembre dernier, le cabinet KPMG indiquait que 96 % des 100 plus importantes entreprises inscrites en Bourse soumises à la loi fédérale comptaient au moins une femme dans leur conseil d’administration au 31 mai 2020, contre 67 % au 31 mai 2014.

Inversement, 4 % de ces sociétés avaient un conseil d’administration composé uniquement d’hommes et 24 % avaient une équipe de direction entièrement masculine. Ces pourcentages s’établissaient respectivement à 33 % et à 29 % au 31 mai 2014.

L’on écrivait aussi que, s’il y a amélioration, il y a toutefois disparité entre les postes de conseil d’administration et ceux de la haute direction. KPMG a mesuré que deux fois plus d’hommes que de femmes ont accédé à des fonctions d’administrateurs entre le 31 mai 2014 et le 31 mai 2020, et trois fois plus à des postes de haute direction.

À l’évidence, il reste encore beaucoup à faire. Dans une étude mondiale publiée par le cabinet Deloitte datée du 30 octobre 2019, on lisait que, globalement, les femmes occupent 16,9 % des sièges aux conseils d’administration, soit une maigre hausse de 1,9 point de pourcentage par rapport à l’édition 2017 de l’étude.

À ce rythme, il faudra plus de 30 ans pour atteindre la parité, disait Deloitte. Et l’on ne parle pas des fonctions de haute direction.

Source: Lente marche vers la mixité

Canada’s work force needs to take hold of its immigration advantage

Another business perspective on elements of the “Canadian advantage” for highly skilled immigrants:

The global economy is going through a profound transformation.

Game-changing technology is driving the digital era, causing many industries to reshape and reform. Real-world applications of artificial intelligence, AR/VR and machine learning are disrupting everything from how we shop, how we manufacture, even to how we mine.

It is also radically redefining how we work and what skills are needed – and these new and increasingly specialized skill sets are in chronic short supply.

While our colleges and universities are doing a good job producing much needed graduates in fields such as robotics, data and analytics, blockchain and AI, they simply can’t keep up with the growth in demand.

This growing skill gap is a drag on business and a drag on economic growth. Organizations around the world are being forced to look beyond their borders to attract workers to propel their businesses forward. But at a time when many countries are turning inward and tightening their borders, it is getting increasingly difficult to do so.

On this front, Canada’s approach to attracting workers with these in-demand skills stands out.

Our current immigration system was built on the belief that improving the entry of in-demand foreign workers would help employers scale up, boost revenues and ultimately create new jobs for Canadians.

This model has worked well and, as we saw recently, the OECD called Canada’s system the benchmark for other countries, noting we lead the OECD with the highest share of highly educated foreign-born entrants. In particular, it praised Canada’s immigration system for the way it chooses which workers to admit as well as its pre- and post-arrival supports.

But Canada could do even more to protect and leverage our advantage in attracting the world’s brightest and best workers. In addition to the strength of our immigration processes, we also have a global reputation for being a welcome place for newcomers.

Business leaders need to stand up for and embrace the continued importance of immigration to the Canadian economy and society.

Canada’s strength as a country – present, past and future – is directly tied to attracting and embracing newcomers. Immigration powers our economy and makes our society one of the most desired in the world. With a rapidly aging population, immigration is more important than ever.

As the child of immigrants myself, I know the journey can be rocky at times – change always is – but I also understand what Canada means to immigrants, and what immigrants mean to this country. Like most newcomers, my parents were extremely grateful for the opportunities Canada provided and worked hard to ensure I understood how lucky I was to have this chance.

We need to be clear with businesses that are searching for much needed high-skill workers that the answer is Canada.

We already have many of the key components needed to attract high-tech businesses, such as high quality of life, solid infrastructure, low corporate tax rates and significant tax benefits for research and development activities.

Our tech super clusters also provide opportunities to partner with Canadian academic and research institutions to develop ideas and talent.

KPMG has been working with a number of organizations, particularly in the technology industry, that are looking to expand their operations and are beginning to recognize that Canada’s progressive immigration system can help address their talent challenges.

The key questions we ask each organization include:

  • Is your organization able to access foreign talent fast enough and with certainty to meet your current business needs and growth objectives?
  • Do foreign nationals working at your operations feel confident that they can obtain permanent residence status in a reasonable period of time for themselves and their families to remain long term?
  • Does the foreign talent pool that you are seeking to recruit feel comfortable that they will be welcomed as foreign workers and future immigrants in the countries you are based?

For many, the answer to all these questions is “no” when looking anywhere else but Canada.

With our reputation for openness and building on our history, Canada has an immense opportunity to expand our digital economy by building on our talent advantage – to attract the world’s best people and companies.

Doing so will drive innovation, create more high-quality jobs and reverse the brain drain.

Source: Canada’s work force needs to take hold of its immigration advantage