The 8th Annual Rosenzweig Report on Women at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada

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Executive Summary

“In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou

On the eve of International Women’s Day, we launch our 8th Annual Rosenzweig Report with guarded optimism. We are optimistic because there is a trajectory of positive change (as you will see from our 

report.) However, that optimism is guarded because the pace of progress of women in leadership roles in business has historically been slow and the corporate world is still dominated by men.

The world is, indeed, changing for the better with women leading large technology companies in the United States, consumer goods conglomerates in Europe, the biggest financial institutions in Israel and 

mining operations and banks in Asia-Pacific. Globally there are true successes like Indra Nooyi, the Indian-born American who is chairperson and chief executive of PepsiCo Inc., the second-largest food and 

beverage business in the world. And Marissa Mayer not only cracked the glass ceiling by being hired as CEO of Yahoo!, she was hired to lead the turnaround of this struggling tech giant while pregnant. But 

these women are still the exceptions, not the rule.

For eight years, Rosenzweig & Co. has tracked the progress of female leaders at the biggest public companies in Canada. Though we have grown into a global firm with partners across North America, India, 

Brazil, China, Hong Kong, the Middle East and Europe, we study the Canadian corporate landscape as a case study of the corporate world for several reasons. Canada has a GDP (gross domestic product) 

consistently among the top 15 in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In addition, Canada is a diverse country by nature, having been built by immigrants from around 

the world and continuing to look to immigration as a driver of growth. Canada’s ranking of fifth on the World Economic Freedom scale from the Fraser Institute is an indicator of the freedoms Canadians have 

to make personal choices and to select desired career paths. In this context, and within the broader context of rights and freedoms afforded to Canadians, Canada should be a place where historically 

disadvantaged groups thrive.

The Annual Rosenzweig Report looks at the 100 largest publicly-traded companies in Canada, based on revenue, and examines how many of the top-paid leadership roles are held by women. Under law, public 

companies in Canada are required to disclose the compensation of their CEO, CFO and the next three highest-paid employees. These employees are referred to as Named Executive Officers (“NEOs”) in the reports 

filed with the Ontario Securities Commission. This is the eighth year Rosenzweig & Co. has compiled this report, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to diversity and to tracking Canada’s progress on this 

important topic.

Of the 535 NEOs reported by Canada’s top 100 publicly-traded companies this past year, 492 were men while 43 were women (41 individual women with two women each holding two posts). This translates to 8.0 

percent of NEOs being female, which is the highest it has ever been in the eight years that we have been tracking the numbers. In our first year of reporting the percentage of female NEOs it was 4.6 


Dialogue is the pathway to solution and we are delighted to see the issue of female executives or the lack thereof being talked about more and more. One of the current high profile voices weighing in on the 

debate is that of Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. In her new book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Ms. Sandberg blames more than the Old Boys Network for the dearth of 

women at the top. She says women themselves are part of the problem.

“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” Ms. Sandberg writes, according to The New York 

Times in a preview of the book expected to be out in March 2013.

A mother of two, Ms. Sandberg spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January with a message of change. “I think we need to … understand that the stereotypes that start in childhood hold 

us back in the professional world, and start having a much more open conversation. Think of it like a marathon. Everyone’s cheering the men on. The messages for women are different: are you sure you want to 

run, don’t you want to run, don’t you have kids at home? We have to talk about this.”

Rosenzweig & Co. has been tracking and talking about this issue for almost a decade and we’re proud of that. We’re also proud of some of the changes that have already occurred to help Canadian corporations 

develop a pool of qualified female executives who can fairly compete with their male counterparts.

There are organizations like Catalyst who have worked for years to expand opportunities for women in business in a number of important centres, including the United States, Canada, Europe and India. 

Organizations like these are getting the corporate world’s attention.

In the 2012 Canadian federal budget, the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) was set up to promote diversity on corporate boards. In last year’s Rosenzweig Report we lauded the Canadian government for 

taking this approach. More diversity on the board level will undoubtedly lead to more promotions of women to corporate leadership roles in the executive suites. This year, the CBDC released a “Diversity 50” 

list of 50 vetted board candidates comprised of women from a wide range of ethnic and industry backgrounds as well as men of minority ethnic groups. It’s still early in the life of the CBDC but the work 

done so far is encouraging.

Meanwhile, Catalyst released a research report in January 2013 that found that women held 8.1 percent of the U.S.’s top earners positions in 2012, which is in line with our results. Catalyst Canada also 

released a report in February that indicated 18.1 percent of senior officers and top earners at Canada’s largest 500 companies are women. The numbers differ from Rosenzweig numbers because we track only the 

100 largest public companies and we only track the highest paid executive officers.

The Canadian political scene is another arena we see female leaders emerging with success. Half of Canada’s ten provinces now have female Premiers, as well as one of Canada’s three territories. According to 

Statistics Canada, these six women govern more than 87 percent of Canada’s population, including Canada’s four largest provinces by population and GDP (Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta).

Steve Jobs had it right on the issue of diversity. “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear 

solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” Similarly, the broader the diversity in leadership roles of 

the corporate elite, the better companies will perform and compete on the global stage.

In a Globe and Mail article published February 1, 2013 entitled “From politics to pay packets, women moving in to lead,” Dr. Soosan Latham, an assistant professor at York University’s School of Human 

Resource Management in Toronto, said that “a cultural shift will happen when we have a critical mass of women in leadership positions as role models.” We believe that we are on the precipice of attaining 

this critical mass and we foresee the percentage of female NEOs rising at a faster pace in the coming years.