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Despite Job Gains in Canadian Banking Industry, Women in Capital Markets Make No Gains Since 2000

New report shows progress for women at all levels remains stagnant

A new report tracking the representation of women in Canadian capital markets from 2000 to 2008 reveals troubling trends. Despite an optimal economic climate and record job growth in this industry over the past decade, women have made no gains since 2000 and men continue to outnumber women four to one in all positions (excluding administrators).

According to the study, Catalyst’s Report to Women in Capital Markets: Benchmarking 2008, the industry has missed a key opportunity to recruit and advance women in a period of record profits and revenue. The research indicates concerns about the future of women in the industry amidst the current economic downturn.

Measuring the representation of women in the Canadian capital markets industry, the study examines the investment dealer and retail private client lines of business and updates quantitative research from studies conducted in 2000, 2002 and 2005. The report includes profiles of senior women in the industry signaling that while there are challenges to advancement, there are personal and professional rewards gained from working in this dynamic industry.

Overall, the study found that in 2008 women held 17 percent of all line positions— those important to advance to the highest levels—with no change since 2000. More specifically, when the study looked at positions by level, there was also little change since 2000, with women’s share of positions consistently and substantially smaller at each higher level. Decreased levels of women in line positions at the Professional and Managing Director and above levels since 2005 indicate a weakening pipeline, the study suggests, and, potentially, less diversity of thought at senior decision-making tables.

“We acknowledge that systemic, cultural change is a slow-moving process and there is no single reason as to why we are not seeing more positive results,” said Martha Fell, CEO, Women in Capital Markets (WCM).  “We can only interpret these findings as a wake-up call to the capital markets industry. Organizations like Women in Capital Markets and Catalyst, as industry partners, have emphasized the importance of mentorship programs, strong support networks, and greater access to female role models at the senior level. However, more action is needed by the industry to set diversity as a priority and hold executives accountable for change.”

In releasing the study, Deborah Gillis, Vice President, North America, Catalyst, said: “While the Canadian banking industry as a whole has made important strides in advancing women in leadership, the results of this study suggest that not enough is being done in the capital markets industry. Catalyst challenges the industry to take the numbers seriously, recognize the benefits of building a critical mass of women, and seize the opportunity to build and capitalize on women’s talents.”

Key findings of the 2008 report include:

In the investment dealer business:

  • Women’s overall share of line positions was 20 percent, making no gains since 2000, although the total number of line positions in the industry increased considerably since 2005—particularly in the corporate and investment banking and capital markets lines of business. Of particular concern is women’s representation in capital markets, which decreased from 24 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2008.
  • A smaller pool of women in line positions at the Professional level, mostly the result of large decreases in the capital markets business, may negatively impact women’s advancement to more senior levels.
  • Despite huge population increases, women’s share of middle office positions dropped to 43 percent, its lowest level since 2000. Men gained 63 percent of the 634 new positions in the middle office since 2005.
  • Women’s share of sales positions decreased 8 percentage points since 2000 to 26 percent in 2008. In 2008, women held 16 percent of trading positions, only slightly more than in 2000.

In the retail private client business:

  • The total number of line positions in the retail private client business increased 8 percent since 2005 but women’s representation remained at 16 percent, unchanged since 2000.
  • Women’s share of line positions at the Managing Director and above level was 9 percent in 2008, a decrease from 11 percent in 2000, and driven by large declines in the number of women Investment Advisors at this level.
  • Women held 15 percent of Branch Management line positions in 2008, a decrease of 6 percentage points since 2000, and 31 percent of National/Regional Management positions, the same as in 2000.
  • Women’s share of Investment Advisor positions was 16 percent in 2008, an increase of only 1 percentage point since 2000.

This report was commissioned by Women in Capital Markets and conducted by Catalyst and is the fourth in a series of reports examining the representation of women in the Canadian capital markets industry. Six of Canada’s largest financial institutions—BMO Financial Group, CIBC, National Bank Financial Group, RBC, Scotiabank Group, and TD Bank Financial Group—sponsored and participated in this study.

For more information about Women in Capital Markets:; for media: Sherry Boisvert, [email protected], (416) 924-4442 ext. 260. For more information about Catalyst:; for media: Charmain Emerson, [email protected], (416) 588-8514.

Women in Capital Markets (WCM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes the entry, advancement and development of female leaders in business, fosters accountability for diversity and positive change in the industry and recognizes leaders who have contributed significantly to the advancement of women in the capital markets.  WCM's innovative programming offers its members diverse and creative opportunities for networking, personal and professional development, mentoring and coaching along every step of their careers. These initiatives and programs, together with this benchmarking report, represent the cornerstone of WCM's mandate to attract, retain and advance women in the capital markets.

Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and more than 400 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women’s advancement with the Catalyst Award.