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What is keeping CEOs up at night?

What is keeping CEOs up at night?

C-Suite 49: Harassment in the Workplace and The State of Retail in Canada


Partner, Global Chair - Consumer & Retail, Partner-in-Charge - High Growth Markets

KPMG in Canada


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The 49th edition of the C-Suite Quarterly Survey was conducted on behalf of KPMG; published by the Globe & Mail's Report on Business and broadcast by BNN. Telephone interviews were conducted with 153 C-Suite executives at ROB1000 companies between Nov. 11 & Dec. 6, 2017. This quarter's survey asked the C-Suite about:

  • The State of the Retail Sector in Canada 
  • Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The State of Retail in Canada

  • While they see clear challenges, Canada's business community is optimistic about the potential of Canadian-based retailers.
  • They agree that digital disruption and e-commerce are serious threats.
  • 86% agreed digital disruption is a serious threat to Canadian retail.
  • 46% of the C-Suite is very or somewhat concerned about digital disruption in respect of their own business.
  • And they believe retailers must do more than they have to adjust to the online marketplace.
  • 77% agreed Canadian retailers are not adopting e-commerce fast enough.
  • And while competition from online competitors is a clear threat, many believe Canadian retailers have to adjust their offering in different facets – i.e. differentiation through marketing strategies, product niches or better service.
  • 77% said traditional retailers can survive in a competitive marketplace because of their ability to provide outstanding customer service.
  • When it comes to Amazon's proposed second headquarters (HQ2), most in the C-Suite believe Canada would be as good a location as the US, if not better. Only one in three believes Amazon would be worse off locating its proposed HQ2 in Canada as opposed to the US.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

  • Most in the C-Suite said they have not witnessed or heard of specific cases of sexual harassment in their companies. About one in three (31%) said they were aware of specific cases in their own company.
  • Most agreed that the majority of sexual harassment cases go unreported.
    • Almost none believe sexual harassment in the workplace is reported most of the time.
    • They are somewhat more likely to believe harassment cases are reported in their own companies than in the workplace generally; but even then, only 25% believe most cases in their companies are reported.
  • Far fewer agreed that their company has a sexual harassment problem.
  • Most believe sexual harassment in the workplace is less of a problem than it was 15 years ago – 69% saying this, almost none saying it is more of a problem today.
  • Most believe recent, high-profile sexual harassment cases will have at least some impact on policies and measures Canadian businesses take to prevent and respond to sexual harassment.
  • One in five (22%) said their companies have updated policies and measures to help prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the past year.

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