Where’s the Dial Now? Benchmark Report 2017 – #movethedial

Colleen Moorehead

Nov 1, 2017

A groundbreaking report released by #movethedial highlights the lack of representation of women at the executive levels of Canada’s technology sector. Released on November 1, Where’s the Dial Now? Benchmark Report 2017 [PDF] (the Report), aims to create awareness of the gender gap that exists in the tech and innovation community in Canada in order to drive positive change. Osler is proud to be a founding corporate partner of #movethedial – a movement dedicated to increasing the participation and advancement of women in technology – and a contributor to this Report, which was co-authored by #movethedial, PwC and MaRS.  

The Report’s main goal is to “create a benchmark to use as a launching point as we move forward towards a more diverse and inclusive tech community.” Key findings from the Report – the first national report examining the current state of women in the tech and innovation sector -- include the following:

  • only 5% of Canadian tech companies have a solo female founder or a solo female CEO
  • women comprise 13% of the average tech company’s executive team
  • only 8% of directors on boards of Canadian tech companies are women, on average

The Report also highlighted a finding from a 2016 Catalyst report that 53% of women who start out in the tech sector depart for a different industry. Colleen Moorehead, Osler’s Chief Client Officer and a driving force behind the firm’s support of #movethedial, says that this has resulted in many missed opportunities and that change starts at the institutional level.

“If you review data over the last 25 years, it is not the pipeline that isn’t rich with women, it is the top of the house,” Colleen says. “Companies need more expansive recruitment and retention techniques – to not only recruit the diversity that you want at your board and management levels, but to keep them by allowing them to advance into the roles they are qualified for.”

Colleen also says that having more female CEOs and board members can bring more diverse viewpoints to the table, and she highlights the importance of mentorship and role models in fuelling change.

“If there are women on the board, or women in CEO roles, the numbers of women overall are substantially higher,” Colleen says. “So that really reads to the ‘If I see one I can be one’ mentality. When you are sitting in leadership roles as a woman, you can drive that change.”

This goal of this Report and the #movethedial movement aligns well with Osler’s commitment to gender diversity and the advancement of women. The firm has been involved with a number of #movethedial events and diversity initiatives. In June 2017, the firm was proud to host “Changing the face of tech leadership in Canada,” a #movethedial event aimed at providing women in the tech sector with the platform to amplify their voices and foster connections with each other, journalists and conference producers through the female founder ecosystem. In September 2017, Osler released its third annual 2017 Diversity Disclosure Practices Report: Women in leadership roles at TSX-listed companies, which provided a snapshot on the representation of women in leadership roles in corporate Canada. Osler also embraces the concept of women in the most senior leadership roles, including our current National Managing Partner and Co-Chair Dale Ponder.

“Our passion for Emerging and High Growth Companies, paired with our commitment to diversity disclosure practice reporting for Canadian public companies, makes our support of the #movethedial Benchmark Report an easy decision,” Colleen says. “We are proud to be a partner of this initiative.”

Read more about Osler’s commitment to diversity initiatives.