Unlucky, lazy, or just female? Why there aren’t more women in the top 100

by Kate McInturff
First appeared on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives blog, behindthenumbers.ca, republished with permission.  

Imagine finding $7.96 million in your stocking on Christmas morning. For Canada’s top 100 CEOs, that happy day has arrived. ImageThese 100 Canadians earn more than 99.9% of the working population of Canada.[1] But if you are woman, odds are you are not on that lovely list. Not now, not ever.

It would take the average working age woman in Canada 235 years (or 85,778 days) to make as much as one of these CEOs makes in a single year.[2] It would take a first-generation immigrant woman 268 years to do it. [3] Visible minority women and Aboriginal women would have to work the longest, at 273 years and 285 years respectively.[4]

Unless they’ve got the inside line on eternal life, the top 100 CEOs didn’t make those salaries by working 99.9 times harder than everyone else, or just happen to be 99.9% luckier than anyone else. If that were true, they would look just like the 15 million working Canadians who aren’t in the top 0.01%. Only richer.

What makes the top 100 CEOs different from the rest of us (aside from the money)? For a start, they are almost entirely men. If the top 100 looked like the rest of working Canadians then 47% of them would be women. In reality only 3% are women.

In a recent survey, senior Canadian executives suggested that a lack of qualifications was the reason for the absence of women at the top.[5] Yet 2 in 5 business post-graduates in Canada are women.[6] Senior executives suggested that women were less ambitious than their male peers. Yet, 81% of female MBA graduates seek corporate jobs following graduation.[7] For those women who do manage to get their foot in the corporate door, there is no lack of hours to work. It’s their pay that looks different. Women with MBAs earn $8,167 per year less than their male colleagues in their first jobs after graduation.[8] And the pay gap, here as in every other field, just keeps on growing as they enter their 30s and 40s.

The majority of Canadian corporations surveyed by the Globe and Mail last month have no women on their boards. None. Zero. Nada. When quizzed about this fact, one third of the Canadian executives polled said they were not at all concerned.[9] More than half of those executives opposed any kind of pro-active policy to ensure that women were better represented at the top of the CEO pile.[10] This is in spite of the evidence that more women at the top of corporations yields benefits for everyone.[11]

Shortchanged from day one, with few models or mentors to lead the way, and a lack of interest from those that do occupy top positions, it should come as no surprise to women in the corporate sector that they make up less than 3% of the 0.01% of earners. That’s not luck and it’s not laziness. It’s discrimination. And it isn’t going to change on its own.

Kate McInturff  is a senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the director of the Centre’s initiative on gender equality and public policy, Making Women Count. You can follow Kate on Twitter @katemcinturff.

[1] Mackenzie, Hugh (2014). All in a Day’s Work?: CEO Pay in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

[2] Median employment income for women age 25-54 years. Source: “Income and Earnings Statistics in 2010 (16), Age Groups (8C), Sex (3), Work activity in 2010 (3), Highest Certificate, Diploma or Degree (6) and Selected Sociocultural Characteristics (60) for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories and Census Metropolitan Areas, 2011 National Household Survey.” 2011 National Household Survey: Data tables. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

[3] Median employment income for women age 25-54 years. Source: “Income and Earnings Statistics in 2010 (16), Age Groups (8C), Sex (3), Work activity in 2010 (3), Highest Certificate, Diploma or Degree (6) and Selected Sociocultural Characteristics (60) for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories and Census Metropolitan Areas, 2011 National Household Survey.” 2011 National Household Survey: Data tables. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

[4] Median employment income for women age 25-54 years. Source: “Income and Earnings Statistics in 2010 (16), Age Groups (8C), Sex (3), Work activity in 2010 (3), Highest Certificate, Diploma or Degree (6) and Selected Sociocultural Characteristics (60) for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories and Census Metropolitan Areas, 2011 National Household Survey.” 2011 National Household Survey: Data tables. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

[5] The Gandalf Group (2013). “The 33rd Quarterly C-Suite Survey: Big Data, Women on Boards and CETA.” Toronto: The Globe and Mail.

[6] “Highest Certificate, Diploma or Degree (15), Age Groups (13B), Major Field of Study – Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) 2011 (14), Location of Study (29), Attendance at School (3) and Sex (3) for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over, in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011 National Household Survey.” Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

[7] Beninger, Anna (2013). High-Potential Employees in the Pipeline: Maximizing the Talent Pool in Canadian Organizations. Catalyst.

[8] Beninger, Anna (2013). High-Potential Employees in the Pipeline: Maximizing the Talent Pool in Canadian Organizations. Catalyst.

[9] The Gandalf Group (2013). “The 33rd Quarterly C-Suite Survey: Big Data, Women on Boards and CETA.” Toronto: The Globe and Mail.

[10] The Gandalf Group (2013). “The 33rd Quarterly C-Suite Survey: Big Data, Women on Boards and CETA.” Toronto: The Globe and Mail.

[11] Bart, Chris and Gregory McQueen (2013). “Why Women Make Better Directors.” International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, Vol. 8.1.

Advertisements


Categories: Money

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: