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More Women Fill Canada's Top Business Jobs

February 7 2009 - More women fill top executive jobs in Canada's largest publicly-traded businesses than ever before - but this still amounts to a mere 7.2%, according to a report from executive search firm Rosenzweig & Company.

Rosenzweig & Company analyzed the largest hundred publicly-traded companies in Canada, based on revenue. Their annual revenues ranged between $41.3 billion and $1.9 billion. Between them, 544 top executive positions were examined.

Jay Rosenzweig, Managing Partner of Rosenzweig & Company said:

"The good news is there are more women rising to top jobs and 15 are newly on the list this year which may indicate turnover and change is in the air. The bad news is that the number remains inexcusably low and Corporate Canada's 'old boys' network' continues to disregard such a diverse talent pool in the workforce for leadership roles.

"Unfortunately, the tough economic times could well serve to slow the pace of change. We'd like to see a big jump year-over-year so that women hold more than 10 per cent of all the top jobs soon, but we may be waiting longer now," he added.

This is the fourth annual Rosenzweig Report on Women at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada. It shows that 36 women now hold top officer jobs in Canada's 100 largest publicly-traded companies, compared with 31 last year. In terms of percentages, women currently hold 7.2% of the top jobs while men have 92.8%. Last year women held 5.8%, with men holding 94.2%.

All these businesses have to name and publicly disclose compensation for their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and at least the next three highest paid executive officers. Some businesses list more than five top executives. But over two-thirds (69%) of Canada's largest public companies do not have women executives in these categories. Canadian banks take the lead in promoting women to top jobs, including RBC, TD, CIBC and BMO. Overall, six corporations listed more than one woman: ATCO, Canadian Utilities, Linamar Corp., BMO, Canadian Pacific Railway, and Russel Metals.

"We are hopeful the election of Barack Obama to the top job in the free world will boost diversity in North American boardrooms," said Jay Rosenzweig. "Clearly, these abysmally low numbers for women - half the population and almost half the workforce - indicate change is needed; and the sooner the better."

With study after study indicating that increased diversity at leadership levels spreads through organizations and improving financial performance, Jay Rosenzweig concludes:

"This is not simply a social and moral issue, but an issue about maximizing shareholder value."

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