Electronic Products & Technology

News

Canadian firms must work on reducing gender pay gap

U.K. report says some of Canada’s largest engineering firms among those to blame


Engineering firms are among the leading employers in Canada to pay their female British employees substantially less than their male counterparts and give out lower bonuses, according to gender pay disclosures filed in the United Kingdom.

Close up of unrecognizable female electrician working on electrical component of a computer.

Some of Canada’s largest banks, retailers and other companies were among the guilty, as The Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and Toronto-Dominion said the mean hourly rate for their U.K.-based female workers was between 35 and 44 per cent lower than men’s rate. On average, women’s bonuses were between 64 and 72 per cent lower than their male counterparts.

According the Equality Act, all U.K. employers with 250 or more employees must submit facts about the salary and bonuses they paid to employees, including the proportions of men and women who receive bonuses and the proportions of each sex in each quartile pay band.

Bombardier Transportation among the best performers

The best performers among Canadian companies were Cott Beverages Ltd. and Bombardier Transportation. Bombardier’s rail division had a 2.8 per cent gap on hourly wages but paid 14 per cent higher bonuses to women. Managing director Richard Hunter noted the company’s gap was narrower than the national average.

“We are committed to make working at Bombardier inclusive and accessible to all, but today some groups remain significantly under-represented, including women – a problem throughout the wider rail and engineering industry,” he said in a report.

Montreal-based engineering firms WSP Global and SNC-Lavalin reported large gaps in wages and bonuses. WSP’s hourly wage gap was 25 per cent while its women received 55 per cent lower bonuses, while SNC-Lavalin said its wage gap was 38 per cent and the bonus gap was 67 per cent.

Philip Hoare, SNC’s CEO of U.K. and Europe, said that like most firms in the engineering and construction sector, its gender pay gap is largely a reflection that men account for nearly 75 per cent of its combined workforce and more than four to one in senior positions. But similar pay gaps were also reflected at companies where most of the employees are women.

Like most organizations, Thomson Reuters said the gap flows from 71 per cent of its senior leadership roles being men and 23 per cent of its overall employment is in technology positions that have traditionally attracted more men than women.

Other Canadian companies including information technology firm CGI IT UK Ltd., Open Text UK Ltd. and Waterloo-based Blackberry UK Ltd.