Women at Canada's Large Banks: Closing the Gap

Banking Organizations


DBRS Morningstar published a commentary titled, “Women at Canada’s Large Banks: Closing the Gap,” which focuses on labour force gender equity, women in leadership, and the pay gap at Canada’s big six banks.

Some of the highlights of the commentary include:
-- Female labour force participation in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing sectors remains strong despite disruption by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a disproportionate number of women to leave their jobs at the onset of the pandemic. It is widely assumed that this was for women take care of their families. Subsequently, women have gradually returned to the workforce.
-- Pay equity legislation came into force in 2021 and banks will have to publish their findings and plans by 2024. This may help to gradually bridge the pay gap that currently sits at around 19% according to DBRS Morningstar estimates.
-- Banks continue to employ a high percentage of women in Canada and are at the forefront of efforts to promote gender equity in the workplace. Women make up more than half of the six large Canadian banks’ workforce; however, that proportion decreases at the executive and board levels.
-- Although transparency is improving, there is still a lack of uniformity in reporting on gender diversity and pay equity at Canadian banks.

“Gender equity measures are being implemented as part of a sea of change among financial institutions globally, and are also being supported by regulatory change,” says Maria Khoury, Senior Vice President, Financial Institutions.

Important to assessing gender diversity among financial institutions is transparency and reporting. The six large Canadian banks are making efforts to publicly disclose their gender diversity information and targets, which is beneficial to external parties when making assessments on these important issues.