Once again, The Rosenzweig Report is the clarion call for corporate Canada. Equipped with knowledge and empathy, let us courageously lead the way in ensuring women have a seat not just at the table, but in C-suites across the country. Our society will be light years ahead once we realize that fulfilling our corporate potential is inextricably intertwined with the empowerment of women.
We live in a time of rapid and transformative global technological change that will inevitably impact every industry and sector not only in Canada, but around the world. To harness these opportunities and meet the challenges, we need all the best ideas at all the decision-making tables and that means diversity at those tables including gender diversity. Ensuing gender diversity is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Women’s engagement at the leadership level of organizations is imperative to Canada’s competitiveness. It is even more important to have diverse and inclusive teams as technology becomes central to every business model. As the first female Managing Partner of PwC Canada’s GTA region, I am invested in advancing women, both in technology and the workplace, and the Rosenzweig Report is a key tool in helping us to understand how fast we are creating change. We are at the tipping point, and we can’t slow down now!
While there’s been slow-but-steady progress with respect to women’s advancement in leadership roles, the Rosenzweig Report highlights the need for Canada to accelerate the pace of change. With a clear correlation between business success and gender diversity at the top levels of leadership, companies need to continue to evolve and grow. It is because of champions like Jay Rosenzweig, diversity in leadership will not only be a priority, but a necessity across all industries.
While we’re thrilled to see an increase in the number of women in positions of corporate leadership, the needle isn’t moving fast enough. We’ve done a great job in recent years focusing on women’s empowerment through initiatives like mentorship and diversity training, but we haven’t yet tackled the structural barriers that disproportionately disadvantage women in the workplace. Our one-size-fits-all, 9-5 workday is a relic of the past, one that pushes women off the corporate leadership track or out of the workforce completely in a forced choice between care and career. Of the 30% of women who leave the workforce, 70% say they would have stayed if they had access to flexibility. If we can help facilitate work-life compatibility through structured flexibility policies while continuing to focus on women’s empowerment, we can increase the number of women in leadership and rapidly accelerate the advancement of corporate gender equality.
The Rosenzweig Report is an invaluable reminder that the key to making real, sustainable progress is collaboration and coordination. People skills are more important than ever before, and those who focus on building diverse networks will be the successful leaders in this new economic era.
This is a moment in history that we must take advantage of, when the impact of a lack of diversity among the powerful is getting the world’s attention. It seems like an overwhelming challenge, but each one of us can do our part, and the Rosenzweig Report is an important example. At Borrowell, we haven’t let being a fast-growing fintech startup stop us from making diversity a priority and one of our core values. Of course, lots of companies talk about diversity. We treat it like any other important goal - we set targets, measure key results and report on our progress. For us, diversity isn’t just about demographic stats, but ensuring that people with different life experiences feel they can be their authentic selves and contribute their unique perspectives to solving business problems. We must do better. Together, I’m confident we can do better.
The Rosenzweig Report is an essential resource for all concerned with bridging the gender gap in the workplace. The excellent research and depth of knowledge makes is a useful tool for all concerned with gender equality. In spite of Canada being one of the world’s most progressive nations, we all have a long way to go in order to level the playing field. The fact that one of the world’s most prominent talent management companies produces this report indicates how important it is for there to be gender parity amongst top decision makers. Jay Rosenzweig served on the Advisory Board for One Young World 2016 Ottawa – the most international gathering ever hosted on Canadian soil – where it was truly demonstrated that diversity should be viewed as a source of strength.
Jay has inspired our members at The XX Project empowering women in business. With his insight and executive recruitment strategies, he’s brought amazing opportunities to our network.
The business case for diverse leadership teams is undeniable. Just this year, McKinsey & Company found that top-quartile gender diverse companies outperformed less-diverse peers by 21%. Women bring much-needed perspective, skills and leadership styles to the table. Collecting data and tracking progress is a good first step, but it’s not enough – companies must take bold action to remove the barriers preventing talented women from reaching C-suite roles. It’s the right thing to do for employees, stakeholders and shareholders alike.
For thirteen years, the Rosenzweig Report has provided insight and thought leadership on the progress we’ve collectively made. While we’ve trended upwards over the past decade, we can do better than incremental improvement. The business case has been heard, the conversations have been had and 2018 has emerged as the year to accelerate. I am optimistic we will shift from conversation to measurable action to advance women both inside the outside the boardroom. At Northeastern University Toronto, we are proud to play a role in strengthening the talent pipeline and breaking down barriers through lifelong learning and innovative programs in STEM education.
As an award-winning entrepreneur, businesswoman and Women’s Success Coach, I find the Rosenzweig Report to be a great resource. It turns a needed spotlight on Corporate Canada and charts the business community’s progress in terms of allowing women to reach their full potential. It also reminds women that we need to keep pushing forward, always striving to take the initiative, to be visible and, ultimately to become so indispensable that our advancement is not just an option, but a business necessity.