Knocking on unbroken glass

From our It Just Gets Worse and Worse Department: The number of women in top corporate jobs in Canada is down 16 per cent year-over-year, reports the executive search firm Rosenzweig & Company. That represents a whopping drop of SIX jobs -- from a staggering 37 to 31 out of 535.

Rosenzweig & Company analyzed the 100 biggest publicly-traded companies in Canada, based on revenue. Annual revenue ranges between $1.7 billion and $36 billion at these companies.

All these large corporations must name and publicly disclose the compensation of their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and at least the next three highest compensated executive officers. Some companies list more than five officers.

Of the 535 top officers reported at these 100 corporations, 5.8 per cent are women and 94.2 per cent are men. Last year, out of the same number of executive positions disclosed, 37 (or 6.9 per cent) were women, and 93.1 per cent were men.

"The reasons for the drop are many and varied, but no matter how you slice this data, women are simply not being promoted to the top jobs in Corporate Canada at the pace they should be," adds (Jay Rosenzweig, Managing Partner of Rosenzweig & Company.)

"And the irony of this is that study after study shows that when corporations tap into the huge talent pool of women for top positions, financial performance improves and shareholders benefit," he says.

So, let's get this straight. Not only do women bring a tremendous wealth of knowledge, talent and experience to the table, they beef up the bottom line.

And yet:

The report also noted that there are currently only three women serving as chief executives of the top 100 Canadian public companies, and only four of the companies surveyed had more than one woman in their top executive ranks.

Seventy-four companies had only men serving as their highest-compensated executive officers.

This, by the way, is pretty much the way it shapes up in the U.S.

Are women intentionally shut out? Are the corner offices hostile places for women? Are there roadblocks to their advancement? Do women walk in, take a look around at the old boys clubs and go, "Uh, no thanks?" Do they need wives to help them out?

Or are male CEOs just stupid sexist pigs?

You tell me.