Reconciling work and family life, throwbacks to another time, lack of education and limited opportunities… Women’s career ambitions are still complicated to implement, Randstad Canada points out in a study.
77% of Canadians believe that a pay gap persists between men and women with equal qualifications and responsibilities. Worse, 92% of them say they see a significant difference in treatment based on sex when a promotion is in the wind. In light of the survey conducted by Randstad with five hundred women executives, published in September 2012, it seems that some obstacles still remain to be overcome before women can access management or executive positions without more difficulty than men.
Leading explanations is the complex equation between work and family life, for more than 60% of Canadians interviewed. Problems of use of time, employer’s fears of an upcoming maternity and other apprehensions related to outside life for these women continue to put the brakes on career ambitions.
According to respondents, the bad habits also die hard and a holdover from other times on the place of the fairer sex at work still inhibits, for some, access to executive and management positions. Another factor cited, this time irrespective of gender, are opportunities that are constrained by the current condition of the Canadian labour market. Close to 50% of women interviewed raised this issue. 49% of respondents also deplored, in the pursuit of responsibilities, the lack of strong female figures, able to act as mentors. Finally, in the same proportions, training gaps are also singled out.
Although several responses to the survey conducted by Randstad seemed to draw an initially decidedly negative picture of the status of women in business, the women interviewed were themselves also keen to qualify this description and could still emphasize some broadly positive points. Managers or executives themselves, more than 91% of the Canadian women respondents reported having had the possibility of finding a satisfying balance between their personal and professional lives. In other proportionate data, 43% of them say that it is now easier to reconcile the objectives of work and the obligations of home.
The reason for this progress, for 28% of those surveyed, is action by women themselves. By requiring a salary and working conditions strictly similar to their colleagues, it seems that they are now more successful. The flexibility required in business today also seems to be bearing fruit: 16% of women interviewed say they have benefited and have achieved a better balance between family life and professional commitments.
And although a long road remains to be travelled before women and men occupy the key positions in business in equal proportions and under identical conditions, optimism is now the order of the day – more than half of Canadians interviewed for the survey expect to see opportunities multiply within five years for the weaker sex to integrate into management departments.
This forecast nonetheless varies in different fields of business – although the fields of health and education, financial services and non-profit organisations seem ready to offer good prospects to women, industry, transport or construction, traditionally reserved for men, are likely to be a little more reluctant, if the conclusions of the Randstad survey are to be believed.