Canadian HR Reporter

February 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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N E W S 10 www.hrreporter.com Gender inequality: Is it a personality issue? Are women missing out on promotions because they're worriers and tend to overanalyze? One former HR professional thinks so, but experts say the glass ceiling is about much more than personality differences, finds John Dujay gets the nod, according to a Toronto employment lawyer. "Women do have a tendency to what I call deselect themselves. What that means is there's a promotion coming up and you'll see a lot of men go for it, but then you'll see a lot of women who will say, 'Well, I don't know if I'm good enough, I don't know if I have the right experience. I'm just going to wait 'til I'm ready,'" says Kathryn Marshall, an asso- ciate at MacDonald & Associates. "There's that hesitation that a lot of women have that is definitely socialized from an early age. You also see it with things like salary negotiation, there definitely is a social pressure for women to just be more appeasing and wait 'til the opportunities are put on their lap," she says. "Employers always tell me [they' ll] post for an internal job and 95 per cent of the resumés are from men." But the configuration of the workplace in Canada also plays a big role, accord- ing to a gender-equality expert. "Women make up the majority of part- time workers, and a high amount of minimum-wage earners are women as well. Women have more precarious jobs in Canada and women also have a gen- der pay gap that they're dealing with. WOMEN who are not being promoted are still banging into the glass ceiling — but it's partly their fault, according to a former HR professional. In her book Fresh Insights to End the Glass Ceiling, Nancy Parsons, pres- ident of CDR Assessment Group in Stafford, Tex., an assessment and lead- ership development consultancy, talks about the differences between male and female leaders. "We were researching risk-factor differences — which are the person- ality-based risks under conflict, stress and pressure — and then we happened on statistically significant differences between men and women leaders. We found that women tend to be high wor- riers," she says. On the other hand, men tended to be more aggressive which serves them well in the corporate world. "We found that men are egotists, up-stagers and rule breakers; they're more aggressive, while women tend to pull back and over-study, overanalyze," says Parsons. In the business context, women's ten- dency to over-think means they are bypassed for higher-level positions, she says. "They have a fear of failure. When the pressure is on, they analyze it inside of their head and they try to make sure ever ything's 100-per-cent perfect. Rather than standing up and saying, 'No, I disagree with that,' they freeze and fear and what happens is they're not viewed as 'leader-like'; they're not viewed as courageous under fire or stress." On the other hand, when it come to men in the corporate world, they don't shut down, says Parsons. "They could keep communicating, even when things are difficult. They keep pushing their point of view, even under stress, where the women who are just sheer worriers shut down and stop communicating because they're overan- alyzing; they have a fear of failure, and they lose the visibility." Variety of reasons for glass ceiling When promotions are available, wom- en's attitudes can play a role in who There's always a gender pay gap — it's about 87 cents on the dollar. We have to just look a little deeper than personality factors as the explanation for something like a ceiling and look at the barriers," says Andrea Gunraj, vice-president of public engagement at the Canadian Women's Foundation in Toronto. "When I hear the term 'glass ceiling,' I think that's another word for systemic barriers." The glass ceiling remains in place for a variety of reasons, not just person- ality differences, according to Brian Rubineau, associate professor and Desautels Faculty scholar at McGill University in Montreal. "It's not just one mechanism, it's not just one process — there are a broad range of processes at multiple levels that all contribute toward an outcome that goes in the same direction." In his own research, Rubineau has found that, at the lower levels of an WOMEN AT THE TOP Four women were among Canada's richest 100 CEOs in 2018, up from three in 2017. Women make up 23.2 per cent of the top one-per-cent earners and 16.5 per cent of the top 0.1-per-cent earners. Women held 18.2% of the total board seats among companies providing disclosure for 2019. "You see it with things like salary negotiation, there is a social pressure for women to be more appeasing and wait 'til opportunities are put in their lap." Kathryn Marshall, associate at MacDonald & Associates Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Osler, Statistics Canada

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