Y-chromosome a key ingredient for leading big Canadian companies

Annual study finds little change in gender diversity in corner offices, but there's a "glimmer of hope" for the country's 100 largest public companies

TORONTO, April 12 /CNW/ - Being male immensely improves your chances of leading a big corporation in Canada, concludes a report by leading executive search firm Rosenzweig & Company.

In the sixth annual Rosenzweig study, only four women are Chief Executive Officers in Canada's 100 biggest public companies.

And only 39 senior executive positions are held by women - a mere 7.4 percent of the more than 500 top executives at the 100 biggest public corporations.

That is up slightly from 6.9 percent last year and 4.6 percent in the inaugural report in 2006. But a gain of 15 women corporate leaders over that span is unimpressive when 92.6 percent of the jobs are still held by men.

"The pace of change is disheartening," says Michelle Morin, Rosenzweig Partner. "Over the last six years we've been studying this issue and very little has improved for talented women executives. Across industries there is a sizable amount of female talent just below the C-level, but for some reason they're not being promoted to the pinnacle."

Adds Alan Zelnicker, another Rosenzweig Partner: "It defies logic why male executives continue to so overwhelmingly dominate these leadership roles when study after study from various organizations and universities around the world show that companies with more female leaders perform better in terms of return on equity and stock price."

Ms. Morin does see some good news: "The one glimmer of hope in these numbers is that of the 39 positions held by women, 11 are CFOs and that office can often lead to President and CEO roles. We believe promoting talented women to leadership roles not only helps the company in the short term, but also in the long run because of the role model factor for other talented women rising through the ranks."

The Annual Rosenzweig Report on Women at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada examines the top executive positions at each of the 100 largest companies. Under law, corporations must disclose the names and pay of the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and at least three other officers.

Other interesting facts from the report include:

  •  Of the 25 biggest companies, only five have women in most senior roles
  •  69 of the 100 biggest companies have no women in senior executive roles
  •  The financial services industry has some of the most active diversity programs and has high levels of executive talent of women just below C-level. But in terms of reaching the top, women do just as well in non-traditional industries such as energy and transportation
  •  Only four women hold the top job of CEO, the same number as last year

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. www.rosenzweigco.com