LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company released Women in the Workplace, a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America.
Let’s get the bad news-or the worst news, since in studies like these, there’s always lots to rage about-out of the way first.
And although companies are providing flexible work schedules to allow for greater work/life family balance, more than 90 percent of men and women believe taking extended leave will hurt their position at work – fittingly echoing my colleague Natt Garun’s sentiment about flexible parental leave.
The top brass are usually promoted because they have direct responsibility for the profitability of the company and its core operations, otherwise known as a line role. Considering the racial discrepancies at the highest levels of business leadership, it’s possible that straight-up discrimination holds women of color back even more than we thought. Researchers measured promotion rates, attrition and trajectories.
Men surveyed were more likely to have predominantly male networks, while women were more likely to have female or mixed networks.
The report concludes with several recommendations for changing the ratio of women in the workplace at all levels of the corporate ladder. Facebook’s COO and author of Lean In (and founder of the organization that goes by the same name) says corporate America is not on a path to gender equality.
But the study also offered a few suggestions to help level the playing field. But 58 percent of women with children and 55 percent of women without children cite “stress or pressure” in the role not directly tied to work/life balance as a top issue for not taking a senior role.
U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8) announced a “Men for Women” House Caucus to promote economic growth through women’s empowerment on Monday, September 28.
It’s not because women are less capable: the evidence is strong that although men tend to be more confident leaders, on average women are more competent leaders. Women certainly face a steeper path to the top than men do, making up just 17% of the population of the executive suite, the end result of promotion patterns that favor men at every level. Additionally, 15 percent of men in both middle and senior management believe their gender is inhibiting their success. Get women to the C-suite and they are about half as likely to leave. “Shifting women into work in higher productivity sectors on a par with the employment pattern of men would contribute another 23 percent of the total opportunity”.
“Although 74 percent of companies report that gender diversity is a top CEO priority, less than half of employees believe that to be true”.
There’s a common misconception that women who start families are subsequently less ambitious in their careers. Moreover, there’s a clear disparity between how women perceive their opportunities for advancement and how their companies see it.
“There are no piecemeal solutions”, says Thomas.
60 percent of senior-level women say they don’t have the same opportunities as men. Among the twenty-five companies that participated in the 2012 to 2015 studies, those with gender targets over the three-year period saw the most progress in female representation at entry levels, while those without formal targets lost ground.