Randstad Canada HR Blog

Women Shaping Business a Year in Review; #Womenshapingbiz

Posted by James Rubec on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 @ 10:02 AM

What we've learned, what is coming next?

Editor’s Note: Women Shaping Business is a program dedicated to shining a spotlight on diversity in the workplace of all types. Since 2012, Randstad Canada’s Women Shaping Business program focused on a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid of women working in Canada both executives and employees, to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that women face in the world of work. In the last three years, this has expanded to discuss progress all workers can make to help them achieve their personal goals and career objectives.


On November 4, 2014, Randstad Canada held a panel discussion on mentorship and gender equity in Montreal, Québec as part of this year’s Women Shaping Business program. The panel featured; Nancy Venneman Présidente et fondatrice de l’entreprise Altitude Aerospace, Elizabeth Alves Vice-Présidente, Audit interne et gestion des risques chez Cogeco, Présidente du CA du chapitre du Québec de l’Association canadienne des femmes en communication et technologie (FCT), Ryan Hillier Avocat chez Blakes et président de la Jeune chambre de commerce de Montréal and Ruth Vachon Présidente-directrice générale du Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec.


On November 12, 2014, Randstad Canada held a panel discussion on mentorship and gender equity in Toronto, Ontario as part of this year’s Women Shaping Business program. The panel featured five great speakers including Spencer Saunders the President of Art & Science Digital Experience Design, Katherine Dimopoulos the Head of Marketing and Brand Experience at SCENE, Fawn Annan President & Group Publisher IT World Canada & Chair, Canadian Channel Chiefs Council, Ingrid Macintosh the Vice President of Portfolio Advice and Investment Research, TD Bank Group and Michael Kyritsis the VP of People and Values, Bond Brand Loyalty and was moderated by Linda Galipeau, the CEO of Randstad North America.
On November 13, 2014, Randstad Canada held a panel discussion on mentorship and gender equity in Calgary, Alberta as part of this year’s Women Shaping Business program. The panel featured; Anna Murray, Founder Young Women in Energy, Dr. Rebecca Sullivan, Professor, Department of English Women's Studies Program, University of Calgary, Chris Marks, Global Talent Acquisition Leader for Ensign Energy, Farah Mohamed, Founder & CEO G(irls)20, Kelly Norcott, Sales Director, Telus Business Solutions; Regional Chair Connects - The Telus women's Network and was moderated by Linda Galipeau, Randstad North America’s CEO and Randstad Canada’s founder.

Men should have a seat at the table in the discussion about gender diversity

On the face of it, it sounds counter intuitive. The He for She solidarity movement put forward by UN women make a case for men to be part in the discussion on female leadership – and the reasoning is sound. First, you have to identify that men aren’t the root cause of the problem – traditional organizational structure, unconscious bias and advancement strategies are. By bringing men into the discussion whole heartedly, it opens the door to a broader discussion about not just how to bring more female leaders up the ranks – but into how to improve organizational efficiency, find better leaders and improve the business.

Accommodate is not enough - organizations need to adapt 

In one discussion held on our Toronto panel this year, the word ‘’accommodate’’ was used to describe what organizations can and should do to help women reach work life balance or workplace harmony. The problem with accommodation is that it implies there is solution for a punctual, limited or short-term problem. But as organizations need more and more skilled workers, and women form a huge proportion of this workforce, while still struggling to juggle job and family responsibilities, accommodating will not be enough. And where accommodate fails, adapt supersedes – it implies that a system will change and evolve to address the problem permanently. In the case of gender diversity, organizations should not accommodate half of the working population, they should adapt to an imbalance that need to be solved.

Gender and family issues aren’t just women’s issues, they are workplace issues

In all of our panel discussions held this year, we had stories that highlighted diversity issues that could have been prevented with training. One story was about a senior professor at a university who was looking for a way to improve the work life balance for this teachers who had children. He instituted a new mandate, stipulating that teachers with parents would no longer teach afternoon classes, thinking that in doing this, he’d make their lives easier.

He was wrong. His change placed a burden on everyone – teachers who had arrangements for afternoon care for their children no longer needed it, teachers who didn’t have children were now forced to teach more afternoon class, which impacted them in uncounted ways. The lesson in the story: family issues are workplace issues, not specifically ones of gender, and they impact everyone whether you have a family or not.


Sponsorship is key … self-promotion too:

The role of a sponsor is to help you develop your career, promote you internally, and help you advance in an organization. The mentor, on the other hand, is more of a coach, giving you advice and sharing their experiences on specific issues. Sponsors and mentors are very strong allies, but you also need to keep evaluating yourself and looking for ways to improve. 

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And while it is a good thing to assess your progress, you should avoid giving too much into self-criticizing and self-doubt. Display your ambition so other managers understand your goals, and speak openly about your success. Women have a tendency to minimize their successes - be proud of your accomplishments and do all you can to promote them. 

Women on boards, women in STEM: are we doing enough?

The question that we posed this year and is becoming more prevalent in the discourse around gender equity, is, “Is this enough?”Through research and our discussions, we see that female leaders advocating for more women in executive positions in their organizations have an impact – more women are given opportunities.  There has been great progress, as you can see below, in a graph published in the 2014 Board Diversity Report Card published by the Canadian Board Diversity Council. Organizations with more female 

board members have more female executive members. The impact of more women on boards means more women in positions of power.


The question that we posed this year and is becoming more prevalent in the discourse around gender equity, is, “Is this enough?”

In the fields of Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics that’s a resounding no. In IT and natural resources, again we’re seeing too few women entering the job market and when they get there, they are leaving too early. Here is an example: in Manitoba[1], only 8% of professional engineers are women. Another large proportion of women who are trained and have paid dues to their representative engineering association choose not to work as engineers.

Below is a graph of female engineering membership and due-payments in Manitoba, through the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists in Manitoba (APEGM). Members of the APEGM, who are women only 15% are practicing currently – versus 33% who are deferring their dues.


The challenges of training more women in STEM fields is real, as is the capacity for organizations and work cultures to keep them in these fields once they are in these careers.

This year we hope to explore why these dynamics exists and what companies are doing to improve the world of work for women



Get a copy of Randstad Canada's Women Shaping Business Research today.

This year will be an exciting time for diversity in the workplace and we hope that we can continue to provide you with valuable insights, research and advice on growing in the world of work.


Tags: Canadian employment, Womenshapingbiz, gender equity

Women Shaping Business: Toronto Panel Discussion

Posted by James Rubec on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:26 PM

Women Shaping Business: Toronto Panel Discussion

The 2014, Women Shaping Business program brought together some amazing leaders to discuss mentorship, gender equity and the advances that organizations have made in building stronger leadership teams through diversity.

In the second event held this year on November 12, 2014, Randstad Canada welcomed over 200 business leaders from across Toronto to join in a discussion featuring an exciting and diverse panel of business leaders.

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The panel featured five great speakers including Spencer Saunders the President of Art & Science Digital Experience Design, Katherine Dimopoulos the Head of Marketing and Brand Experience at SCENE, Fawn Annan President & Group Publisher IT World Canada & Chair, Canadian Channel Chiefs Council, Ingrid Macintosh the Vice President of Portfolio Advice and Investment Research, TD Bank Group and Michael Kyritsis the VP of People and Values, Bond Brand Loyalty and was moderated by Linda Galipeau, the CEO of Randstad North America.

In this recording, which is introduced by Faith Tull, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Randstad Canada, you will hear an in-depth discussion on a number of facets of gender equity, current research on workplace diversity and new insights into the balance that our lives at work and home need to take.

Highlights include discussions on worklife harmony, the importance of verbiage surrounding adaption over accommodation and the importance of finding role models and mentors for anyone seeking to advance their career. 

Introduction Time Signatures:

00:03: Faith Tull, begins her introduction of the panel to the audience at 1 King West, in Toronto, Ontario on November 12, 2014.
4:15: – Faith Tull, introduces the panelists.
5:55: Linda Galipeau, begins her moderation of the panel.
9:00: Q1: Why do we want more diversity in the boardroom – discussion started by Katerhine Dimopoulos.
9:55: Followed up by Ingrid Macintosh.
10:33: Michael Kyritsis speaking about the importance of diversity at the table.
11:25: Q2: Does it matter what role that women take? Very few women in the roles, COO, CIO, CEO, executive women, does it matter? 
13:15: Katherine Dimopolous shares her thoughts on women helping women advance.
14:15: Linda Galipeau introduces research conducted by HP about the “confidence gap”.
16:15: Fawn Annan, speaks on how women and men network differently.
17:05: Ingrid Macintosh speaking on self-selection and the generational shift of women having their own mothers as professional role models.
19:45: Spencer Saunders shares how he has changed his shop culture to be more inclusive.
25:15: Q3: How do men and women network different and how can women network more effectively?
26:00 Fawn Annan, discusses the value of awards and recognition programs for women and organization that spur on diversity.

Join the Women Shaping Business Linkedin Group, and keep the conversation going all year around. Register with the button below.

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Tags: Womenshapingbiz, gender equity, Women in Tech, Canadian Business

Mentorships, the good, the bad and the ugly : Women Shaping Business

Posted by James Rubec on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

As part of the Women Shaping Business Program, we looked at mentorship with one of our panellists from events we held across the country. Dr. Rebecca Sullivan, an Associate Professor of the Department of English, joined a panel of experts in a discussion in Calgary as part of our program on November 13, 2014, and was gracious enough to sit down with Randstad Canada to talk on mentorships and how to make the most of them. Professor Sullivan was instrumental in the development of our Calgary program and we thank her for valued input. To learn more, visit, www.womenshapingbusiness.ca

130919_EDIT_Rebecca_Sullivan_0002Q&A With Dr. Rebecca Sullivan: 
Some mentorships work well, others are well ... just work

While mentorship has value, not all mentorships are created equal. Dr. Rebecca Sullivan a professor in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Calgary sat down with Randstad Canada and added some context to our survey results. Here are her insights on our mentorship and gender divide data.

Q: Our study showed that very few women are taking part in mentorships, with 76 telling us that they’ve never had a mentor and haven’t sought one out, does this surprise you?

A: This survey’s results aren’t surprising at all. Mentorship can often just mean added labour with no tangible benefits, especially since the data shows a lingering bias toward promoting mentored men. A Harvard Business Review paper titled Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women[1], looked at 4,000 high performing men and women MBA graduates engaged in mentorship programs between 2008 and 2010. What the study found was that while women were getting a great deal of guidance and support, men got more promotions.

The study’s authors interviewed their subjects and found that most said the mentorship programs led to a great deal of extracurricular work beyond their actual jobs – the mentorship programs were a burden.

Q: So if mentorship in the formal sense don’t work, what does?

A: It isn’t that they don’t work, they just don’t work evenly. Sponsorship, when a mentor, or manager promotes an employee to business leaders and goes beyond giving advice and into lobbying for someone, you are on better footing. There are two other things;

  1. Informal mentorships can be great, indeed that’s where many men have enjoyed advantages and opportunities. We need to find out how these mentorships work, what sorts of skill sets are valued and how promising, talented men are brought into the circles of leadership. But in doing that, we also need to learn how those same networks help keep the promising, talented women out.

  2. Organizations need to make efforts to recognize the accomplishments and capacity of female professionals at an earlier stage. Too often, women are expected to prove their abilities at a much higher rate than men, who are promoted as much on potential as on actual accomplishment.

MentorQ: What can women do help themselves advance faster?

A: There’s the big question. “What can we do to help ourselves,” implies that this is our problem.
At one time, Hewlett-Packard was seeking to increase the number of women in senior roles, so they looked at their HR files and found that women would apply to a role when they had 90 or 100 per cent of the qualifications. A man would apply at 50 or 60 per cent, sometimes even lower.

There is a tendency to look at this stat and say, “Well women just need to work harder, demand more and be more assertive with what they want. They need to ‘lean in,’ therefore this indicates that women lack confidence.”

That’s a big leap. Personal empowerment is a powerful tool for many, but reading that a gender “confidence” gap is the root of all our gender equality issues puts the problem back on the shoulders of women – this makes us the problem again. Some personality flaw in our chromosones that we have to fix.

When women are made responsible for the systemic barriers that block their entry into leadership, they get caught in a vicious cycle. Acknowledging a barrier appears like whining, or weakness, or lack of confidence. So some women end up banging their heads against that glass ceiling until they burn out and give up.

Q: How does this play out in the world of work?

A: A great example of this is in the STEM fields, where fewer than 22 per cent of the employees are women.
Now, women make up 48 per cent of the work force nationally, they represent over 50 per cent of STEM graduates, it is hard to see how confidence alone is going to make up a 28 per cent difference between men and women in STEM fields. So if the problem of women isn’t women, then what is it? The answer is clear, but it means recognizing inequities and imbalances that privilege those already in leadership.
As the results of this survey have shown the divide is real and it needs to be addressed at the organizational level.

Back to the Harvard study, mentorship does still help women advance – but what makes it possible for women to continue to advance are organizations that accept that bias exists and actively fight against it, through awareness training and the very action of promoting women to leadership positions.

The value of your mentorship program is in the promotion of leaders not necessarily in the process that got them there.

Mentorships only have value if they end in results – professional advancement, new skills, higher levels of retention, positive morale, pay raises or all of the above.

To join the discussion and more in the Women Shaping Business Linkedin Group.


Here are other articles from our Women Shaping Business series:

1. Can women have it all?

2. How I overcame imposter syndrome

3. Let's talk about dress

4. Mentorship vs Sponsorship

5. Women Shaping Busines 2014: Shrinking the divide, expanding the conversation


[1] Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women http://hbr.org/2010/09/why-men-still-get-more-promotions-than-women/ar/1
[2] Few females in STEM fields http://wiseatlantic.ca/pdf/Interview%20with%203%20chairs/NSERC_Part_Two_03.pdf


Tags: calgary, Randstad Canada, Mentorship, Female leaders, gender equity, leadership

Women Shaping Business 2014 : Shrinking the divide, expanding the conversation

Posted by Randstad Canada on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 08:35 AM

According to the third annual Women Shaping Business survey conducted by Randstad Canada, the gender divide has been shrinking in today's workplace.  As salary continues to be a discussion point when it comes to gender equality, the survey revealed a decrease in the perceived salary gap between men and women - 65% this year in comparison to 78% last year. Other areas where women have also seen progress include, better work-life balance and flexible working arrangements.
After reviewing the results from a survey of 1,000 Canadian women, we have the resullts of our annual Women Shaping Business Survey. 

Tags: Randstad Canada, Female leaders, gender equity