Women in Canada’s benefits, pension industries talk gender diversity

Women represent roughly a quarter of C-suite leaders in North America, while women of colour represent just one in 16, according to a report by McKinsey & Company.

The report, which was based on research from more than 270 companies in the U.S. and Canada, found women of colour faced the steepest drop-off in representation from entry level to C-suite positions. As they moved up the pipeline, their representation dropped by two-thirds.

Nearly all (96 per cent) women of colour indicated their career is important to them and 88 per cent said they want to be promoted to the next level. Similarly, nine in 10 women aged 30 and younger said they want to be promoted to the next level and three-quarters said they aspire to become senior leaders.

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For the ninth consecutive year, the report found women’s biggest hurdle to advancement was at the first critical step up to manager. For every 100 men promoted from entry-level positions to management, just 87 women were also promoted at the same pace. Indeed, even fewer (73) women of colour were promoted to manager for every 100 men, down from 82 last year.

On average, men held 60 per cent of manager-level positions, while women held just 40 per cent. As a result, there were fewer women to promote to director and the number of women decreased at each subsequent level.

In 2023, for every 100 men promoted from entry level to management positions, just 54 Black women were promoted. After rising to 82 in 2020 and 96 in 2021 — likely in response to a heightened focus on their advancement — the promotion rate for Black women to manager fell lower than it was in 2019.

The report also found women who work remotely face fewer microaggressions and have higher levels of psychological safety. More than half (53 per cent) of women and 36 per cent of men who work remotely said one of the biggest benefits was reduced pressure around managing their personal style or appearance. Nearly a third (29 per cent) of women and 25 per cent of men cited having fewer unpleasant interactions with co-workers.

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