A new report found women are making significant gains in the corporate world, but still face barriers when it comes to management positions.

The new report from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce found women now represented 48 per cent of all jobs in 2023, a growth of five percentage points since 1987, but hold just 35 per cent of management positions and just 30 per cent of senior management positions.

“Women in Canada face not one glass ceiling but several, and not one broken rung in the promotion ladder but many—all of which hinder their ascent to full equality,” Marwa Abdou, the report’s lead author and senior research director with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Business Data Lab, said in a news release on Tuesday.

“The data show that barriers for women persist most prominently in management positions and in boardrooms.”

Canada’s percentage of female managers is slightly above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, but falls more than 10 percentage points behind leader Latvia (45.9 per cent).

The report echoes a similar study from TD Bank, which found women are increasingly becoming the family breadwinners, but families with a female breadwinner are more likely to face financial pressure and have a smaller savings cushion.

Pay gap persists

Women also lag behind men in compensation. The report found women in management positions earned 88 cents for every dollar a man makes, up from 80 cents in 1997.

Prince Edward Island is the only province where female managers earned more than their male counterparts, while women in Quebec earn 95 cents on the dollar compared to men.

Abdou said the challenges women face have forced more women to turn to entrepreneurship.

“That seems like a silver lining—to have more women starting businesses—but women entrepreneurship is concentrated in the very gendered industries where they face additional challenges, such as reduced access to capital, less information and fewer resources, as well as unfavourable business environments,” she said.

The report suggests employers should examine job descriptions to ensure they don’t discourage women from applying, to track hiring outcomes and to strive for equal pay.