Women Make Gains in Top Executive Positions in Canada

Number of women in top corporate jobs jumps 24 per cent year-over-year and 15 new women make exclusive list, annual ranking finds TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - The number of women in top executive jobs at Canada's largest publicly-traded companies is at its highest level, but remains too low at only 7.2 per cent, reports leading executive search firm Rosenzweig & Company.

"The good news is there are more women rising to top jobs and 15 are newly on the list this year which may indicate turnover and change is in the air," says Jay Rosenzweig, Managing Partner of Rosenzweig & Company. "The bad news is that the number remains inexcusably low and Corporate Canada's 'old boys' network' continues to disregard such a diverse talent pool in the

workforce for leadership roles.

"Unfortunately, the tough economic times could well serve to slow the pace of change. We'd like to see a big jump year-over-year so that women hold more than 10 per cent of all the top jobs soon, but we may be waiting longer now," Mr. Rosenzweig adds.

The fourth annual Rosenzweig Report on Women at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada found that 36 women now hold top officer jobs in Canada's 100 largest publicly-traded companies; up from 31 last year. On a percentage basis of top jobs, women now hold 7.2 per cent of the positions and men 92.8; last year it was 5.8 per cent and 94.2 respectively.

Rosenzweig & Company analyzed the 100 biggest publicly-traded companies in Canada, based on revenue. Annual revenues at these large corporations range from $41.3 billion down to $1.9 billion. Combined, there are 544 top officer positions at these companies.

All these 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.

"We are hopeful the election of Barack Obama to the top job in the free world will boost diversity in North American boardrooms," says Mr. Rosenzweig. "Clearly, these abysmally low numbers for women - half the population and almost half the workforce - indicate change is needed; and the sooner the better."

Study after study indicates that more diversity at leadership levels spreads through the organization and improves financial performance. "This is not simply a social and moral issue, but an issue about maximizing shareholder value," Mr. Rosenzweig adds.Other details in the report:

- More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of Canada's biggest public companies do not have women executives at the top paid ranks.

- Canadian banks continue their leading roles in promoting women to top positions. Of the five largest Canadian banks, four are included on our list: RBC, TD, CIBC and BMO. In addition, TD's

Colleen Johnston ranked number 1 in the 2008 "Top 25 Women to Watch" published by the American Banker. The list includes individuals from top North American financial institutions. BMO's Ellen Costello is ranked number 12 in the "Top 25 Women to Watch".

- Again this year, six companies had more than one woman listed: ATCO, Canadian Utilities, Linamar Corp., BMO, Canadian Pacific Railway, and Russel Metals. CP - a company in an industry traditionally dominated by men - should be lauded in this regard.About Rosenzweig & Company

Rosenzweig & Company is a leading provider of executive recruitment solutions, with offices in Toronto, Calgary and New York. As a result of a sophisticated research capability and specialized senior level focus, the firm is consistently able to find exceptional talent for its clients. Rosenzweig & Company works closely with a number of the world's top companies to generate timely and accurate results for them when addressing their specialized senior level search requirements.