May 14, 2020Study Finds that Women are Still Struggling to Advance in the Electricity Sector

Ottawa, 14 May, 2020 – Gaps in women’s representation around the decision-making tables of the electricity and renewables sector persist, but a coordinated effort with multiple approaches may provide the solution, says a new report by Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC). Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity explores the status of women’s representation in companies across Canada’s electricity sector, with a focus on the leadership level. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiative Program the report finds that, despite good intentions and investments, the pace of change in the industry has been slow.

The advantages of greater gender diversity—particularly at the senior level—have been well documented. However, the report notes that there is an urgent need to move from awareness and shared understanding to genuine commitment.

The findings also reveals a stark difference in the perspectives of men and women as to how easy it is to succeed in the industry. It also explores the views of leadership teams and non-management employees on the barriers women face entering and remaining in the sector. Differing opinions between these groups highlight that work remains to be done, and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting gender diversity. Succeeding requires a variety of coordinated approaches, including policies, leadership, commitments, disclosure and reporting.

“As our companies and organizations face shifts in business models, greater demands for innovation and labour market challenges, a focus on accelerating women into leadership ranks is a crucial part of the solution,” said Michelle Branigan, CEO of EHRC. “Incorporating multiple strategies when building a diverse, inclusive workplace leads to the best chance of success.”

The report’s findings are particularly relevant to the electricity and renewable sector now, as it embraces new business models and emerging technologies. Employers must pay more attention to inclusive talent management practices in order to position themselves as leaders in driving cultural change both at an organizational and social level.

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion supports the work undertaken in this research report. “Ensuring women have an equitable path to leadership positions is an important goal for the Government of Canada. The findings in this report provide great insights into how organizations in the electricity sector can improve the representation of women in leadership roles and modernize their businesses.”

“Supporting women from the first steps of their careers is an investment that pays off not only in the long run, with higher levels of talent retention and employee engagement, but in the short term too; an inclusive environment will attract the people you want, now,” commented Lyne Parent-Garvey, Chief Human Resources Officer at Hydro Ottawa.

Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity will be launched online on Thursday, May 28 at https://electricityhr.ca/workplace-solutions/sector-research/leadershift-launch/. The report will be available after the launch on EHRC’s website at electricityhr.ca/resources/leadershift-pathways-to-gender-equity

About Electricity Human Resources Canada

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) is Canada’s most trusted source of current human resources information and tools to help power the Canadian electricity industry today and tomorrow. EHRC is a not-for-profit organization helping to keep the lights on in Canada by enabling a world-class workforce for the entire electricity industry that is highly skilled, safety-focused, diverse and productive.

Contact

Alex Hosselet
Manager, Communications and Marketing
613-235-5540 ext. 239
hosselet@electricityhr.ca

Acknowledgements

EHRC would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the following individuals and organizations who participated on the national advisory committee:

  • Lyne Parent-Garvey
    Chair of the Advisory Committee
    Hydro Ottawa
  • Indy Butany-DeSouza
    Alectra Utilities
  • Paul Dabrowski
    Ontario Power Generation
  • Lindsay Miller-Branovacki
    University of Windsor
  • Lisa Nadeau
    Albera Electric System Operator
  • Joanna Osawe
    Women in Renewable Energy
  • Jessica Parsons
    TransAlta
  • Jeanette M. Southwood
    Engineers Canada
  • Michelle Branigan
    Electricity Human Resources Canada
  • Mark Chapeskie
    Electricity Human Resources Canada
  • Merertu Mogga Frissa
    Electricity Human Resources Canada

We would also like to thank research partners and the many interview respondents who participated in this study.

The study has been funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.