Glass ceiling far from broken despite jump in number of women execs: report

The number of women in top-paid executive roles increased by 61 per cent in 2006, but there is still more to be done in addressing the gender imbalance at the highest levels, according to a survey by Rosenzweig & Company.

The report found that there are now 37 women occupying top executive positions in Canada's 100 largest publicly traded companies, compared to 23 in the previous year, and there are three female CEOs, compared to only one in 2005.

"These numbers show us that something is still not right, but they also tell us there's been some progress," said Rosenzweig & Company managing partner Jay Rosenzweig. "More women made it to corner offices last year so the glass ceiling is cracking, but it is certainly nowhere near shattered."

Only about seven per cent of the 521 top officers at the 100 companies surveyed were women, the report showed. However, this was up from 4.6 per cent of 497 executive positions reported in 2005.

Six companies now have multiple women holding top jobs, but five of these firms are ranked among the smallest of the top 100 companies.

RBC Financial Group was the only top-ranked company to have multiple women in top executive roles.

"When women represent almost half the workforce, these number clearly state there remains an 'old boys network' at the top of Corporate Canada and there are definite barriers preventing women from reaching the top," said Mr. Rosenzweig.

He added that it was important to recognize and train female leaders as the aging working population is intensifying the demand for executive talent.

The report was based on an analysis of the 100 biggest publicly traded companies in Canada based on revenue. The companies named and publicly disclosed the compensation of its chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and at least the next three highest-compensated executive officers.