Canadian investors want to see gender pay equity and women in leadership roles

The majority of Canadian investors want pay equity among men and women in the workplace, according to a new study from the Responsible Investment Association (RIA).

The report, which was commissioned by OceanRock Investments Inc., indicates many Canadian investors feel women need to be treated better in the workplace and more women are needed in leadership roles.

“These findings demonstrate clearly that Canadian investors will no longer tolerate gender pay discrimination and want more gender diversity on corporate boards,” said OceanRock CEO Fred Pinto.

The report goes into further detail underlining the specific elements of gender equity investors want to see addressed. Eighty two per cent of those surveyed believe women should be better represented on corporate boards in Canada, while 92% said women and men should receive equal pay for equal work.”

Recent data from Statistics Canada found that full-time working women earn, on average, 74 cents for every dollar that men make, based on annual earnings. For hourly workers, women earn 87 cents on the dollar.

Many investors would like companies to be more transparent when providing information about pay for women and men.

“Seventy six per cent of investors believe companies should be required to disclose how much they pay women compared to men,” the report said.

The survey found 55% of investors would sell their investments if they found out a company they invested in did not pay men and women equally.

Pinto said women hold only 12% of seats on corporate boards in Canada, and 45% of publicly traded companies have all-male boards.

“Having more women on boards and in senior management is not only about gender equity; it also makes good business sense,” said Pinto. “It’s good for the company and it’s what investors want.”

Deb Abbey, RIA Chief Executive Officer, said gender pay equity and leadership diversity are important factors in responsible investing, along with environmental and social considerations.

However, while investors are keen on the idea of responsible investing, they don’t know much about it, according to the report.

The RIA research was based on an online survey of 1,084 Canadian investors.