With conferences like the SXSW in Austin, Texas, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and even the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland happening all over the world, unfortunately, the reality in 2019 is that women continue to be held back when it comes to finding and maintaining top corporate jobs, especially in the United States and Canada.
According to the 14th Annual Rosenzweig Report, released this month, findings demonstrate that of the 532 Named Executive Officers (NEOs) in Canada, 53 are women, which represent 9.96% of all executive positions. Last year, the number stood at just 9.44%.
But, Is Progress Just Incremental?
What’s even more puzzling, as indicated by the report, is that only three female CEOs remain among Canada’s top 100 companies — half the number of last year. Furthermore, no female CEOs are found among Canada’s 25 largest corporations. Hell, even surveys of Fortune 500 companies in the United States have also noted an incremental decline in the number of female CEOs.
“Progress can only be described as incremental,” said Jay Rosenzweig. Managing Partner of Rosenzweig & Company.
“To put it in perspective, at this rate, it will be at least 2040 before women will occupy even 30 percent of these jobs. Today’s millennial generation will be approaching retirement.”
Even with this estimation, the question is why. Why must the success rate of female corporate acquisition take so long, especially in the 21st century?
“Our surveys over the years have shown that women at Canadian companies are disproportionately concentrated in non-operational roles,” Rosenzweig added. “While these are often mission critical functions such as human resources, marketing, communications, finance and legal, they are rarely a launch pad to the top job because they lack profit and loss responsibility.”
This lack of profit, according to the Managing Partner, in addition to loss responsibility subsequently “limits women’s ability to be prepared for these executive roles, a significant factor in Canadian companies’ poor diversity.”
But, the 116th U.S. Congress, for example, recently made history with the number of women and African-American and Hispanic members sworn into office. Should women be left to fight this battle alone? Absolutely not.
“We all have our blind spots,” said Jones, “and we need each other. Jay Rosenzweig deserves kudos for tracking the number of women in leadership roles for the past fourteen years, and for his actions and advocacy for change.”
Rosenzweig pointed out that senior corporate management, which is still predominantly male, must actively encourage women to take on these roles and mentor them.
“It’s time for companies to realize that a corporate ladder designed entirely to suit men with stay-at-home-wives is not a ladder, it’s a strainer that will lose you alot of great talent,” said Nathalie Molina Nino, founder of Brava Investments and author of Leapfrog, The New Revolution For Women Entrepreneurs.
Rosenzweig’s annual report has been praised by many, and according to CNN political contributor and CEO of the REFORM Alliance, Van Jones, “[…] only through measurement and education can we hold one another to account, and spur greater action to affect the positive transformational change.”
2019 Report Highlights
So, what have we learned from this year’s annual report?
- Of the 532 NEOs, 479 are men and 53 are women. The net number of women increased by two. Pathetic.
- In percentage terms, women now hold 9.96% of these important jobs compared to 9.44% a year ago, and only 4.62% in 2006, when the study first began. Definitely incremental progress, but not fast enough.
- Of the 100 largest companies, 42 have at least one woman in a top leadership role, up 2 from the previous role. This isn’t good enough.
- In the 25 largest companies, there are now 11 female NEOs, unchanged from the previous year. But why?
- In the corner office, there are three women CEOs, down three from the previous year. Again, one must wonder…why?