More Canadian CEOs Named Michael Than Women CEOs: Report

Equileap’s latest report shows that only 28 companies globally have closed the gender pay gap, and just 18 have achieved gender balance at all levels.

Ruth Saldanha 2 March, 2023 | 5:08AM
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Men/women toilet sign with most of frame of man's side

Canadian companies have a lot of work to do on gender equality, according to data in an Equileap study, as no Canadian companies have closed the gender pay gap. In its latest report, Equileap notes that 81% of Canadian companies do not publish their gender pay gap, compared to 83% in 2022, and only 7 Canadian companies have published a strategy to close the gender pay gap.

The gender wage gap refers to the difference (or gap) in earnings between women and men. Though different organizations calculate the gender wage gap differently, the consensus in the results is that women consistently earn less than men, and the gap is wider for women of colour. According to the latest StatCan data, in 2021 female employees earned 11.1% less per hour than male employees, with the wage gap little-changed from 2020.

On a global scale, only 28 companies (less than 1%) have closed their gender pay gap and the majority (78%) do not publish information on pay differences, the Equileap report finds, adding that 18 companies globally achieved gender balance at all company levels as progress stalls with female CEOs at 6% and female executives at 20%.

“There are two clear stand-outs when you look across the last 3 years (from 2021) and both relate to the publication of policies, as these amount to a commitment to doing the right thing.  Firstly, the number of companies offering flexible work locations policies rose a staggering 25 percentage points over that period (24% in 2021 to 49% in 2023.)  Secondly, the number of companies publishing an anti-sexual harassment policy rose by 11 percentage points since 2021.  These are significant moves in a dataset so large it encompasses 102 million employees,” said Diana van Maasdjik, the CEO of Equileap.

The report finds that 4 countries lead the way in gender pay gap reporting practices: Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Norway. France also has gender pay gap reporting legislation, but public reporting is not mandatory, and this is reflected in a lower disclosure rate of 33% (down from 34% in 2022). Gender pay gap reporting is particularly low in the U.S. (12% of companies), Hong Kong (10%), and Japan (8%).

According to the report, the average score of Canadian companies is 42%, compared to 40% for the U.S. and 52% for the UK. This is an increase from 33% in 2021 and 39% in 2022.

More CEOs Named 'Michael' Than Women CEOs in Canada

In Canada, there are more CEOs named Michael (7) than female CEOs (6), though Canada outperforms the U.S. and global averages for women’s representation on the board, with 33%. Over one quarter (27%) of companies have a gender-balanced board, an improvement from 2022 (when it stood at 23%), Equileap finds.

Companies with a female CEO are Atco (ACO.X), Canadian National Railway (CNR), Canadian Utilities (CU.X), Ivanhoe Mines (IVN), Linamar (LNR), and Ritchie Bros Auctioneers (RBA). Canada has increased the representation of women at the senior management level since 2022 to 30% and is now on par with the U.S. However, the representation of women in the workforce (35%) continues to lag behind the U.S. and global averages, the Equileap report finds.

Only one company achieved gender balance at all levels: Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (CAR.UN)

There's More Work to do on Disclosures

According to Equileap data, the vast majority (78%) of companies globally did not publish any information on differences between the salaries of male and female employees, compared to 83% in 2022. Disclosure is lowest in North America, where 87% of companies do not publish gender-disaggregated pay information, followed closely by Asia-Pacific, where the figure is 86%. Disclosure is highest in Europe, where 53% of companies do not report on the gender pay gap.

“Generally speaking, the pay gap is not flattering and most countries do not have legislation forcing companies to publish - so they don’t.  The differences in disclosure rates when there is legislation in place is vast. In Spain 98% of companies publish gender pay data whereas in the USA this figure is only 12%, the difference is that in Spain there is relevant legislation and in the USA there is none,” van Maasdjik said.


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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar Rating
Atco Ltd Registered Shs -I- Non Vtg40.94 CAD0.69
Canadian National Railway Co172.96 CAD-0.13Rating
Canadian Utilities Ltd Class B  
Ivanhoe Mines Ltd Class A21.28 CAD0.95
Linamar Corp71.36 CAD-0.71
RB Global Inc103.10 CAD0.98Rating

About Author

Ruth Saldanha

Ruth Saldanha  is Editorial Manager at Follow her on Twitter @KarishmaRuth.


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