- New research from the Working Mother Research Institute highlights four reasons why so few women are CEOs of or hold C-suite positions at S&P 500 companies. According to the report, barriers to advancement include a lack of: awareness of opportunities for advancement; understanding of relationship capital; understanding of sponsorship, mentoring and networking importance; and a willingness to take risks.
- Nearly half of men said they received in-depth information on career paths leading to profit and loss (P&L) jobs in the past 24 months, compared to only 15% of women. Of women who never held a P&L position but wanted one, 64% said they viewed male-dominated cultures as an obstacle. The institute compiled responses from 2,289 junior and mid-level professional women and 749 professional men nationwide and across demographics.
- Slightly more than half of men discussed their career plans with a mentor or sponsor in the past 24 months, compared to just 39% of women. Nearly 60% of men said they aspire to be CEOs, but only 40% of women said they have such goals for themselves.
This Working Mother report, like many other studies on the barriers to advancement for women, showed that women have made progress, but not as quickly as anticipated. The IBM Institute for Business Value published a study, for example, that estimated women won't reach leadership parity with men until 2073 if they continue to advance at the current pace. Advancement is even more difficult for women of color; a Catalyst report revealed women of color experience an "emotional tax" at work that keeps them on guard constantly.
Women have made progress, of course. They firmly closed the college education gender gap; in fact, the Pew Research Center found that, since the early 1980s, women have been earning the majority of college degrees. And a report from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that the number of vacated CEO spots taken up by women increased to 22% in 2018.
Still, if employers intend to make their company leadership diverse and inclusive, they'll need to work to bring more women aboard in leadership roles. According to a 2018 report by the Canada-U.S. Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, employers need to set clear goals and objectives for advancing women, institute a system for measuring the effectiveness of these goals, and make leadership accountable for reaching those goals.