- Women, especially women of color, are disappearing from the talent pipeline in organizations, all the way up to the C-suite, according to a research study by Bentley University's Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business (CWB). Based on an extensive study of prominent research and media coverage, the report is a compilation of interventions for organizations looking to improve diversity and gender equity.
- The study points out some basic reasons for what it describes as a "leaky pipeline": entry-level women start out their careers earning 20% less than men; they're 21% less likely to be promoted to the first stage of management; those in their mid-careers experience bias against motherhood and work-life balance matters; and women often lack sponsors, role models, networks and mentors needed to build their careers.
- The interventions outlined in the report focus on: culture and leadership; metrics around recruitment, retention, advancement, representation and compensation; people programs and processes; and game-changing relationships. The report also includes tips for women on building confidence and advice from women who have advanced their careers.
The barriers to women's advancement in their organizations persist, despite the gains many have made in education and skills development. "More often than not, these problems reflect an outmoded culture — workplaces that require a 24-7 mentality, offer inadequate flex options, or have leaders that don't set the right tone," Trish Foster, CWB senior director and lead author of The Pipeline Predicament: Fixing the Talent Pipeline, said in a statement. That may mean employers have to adjust their benefits and culture to ensure work is accessible for employees of all backgrounds.
This study is far from the first to point out barriers to women's advancement within the workplace. For example, The State of the Workplace Gender Report showed that women complete more work, on average, than men. A Lean In.org and McKinsey & Company report found that women who are alone in certain work situations are 1.5 times more likely to consider leaving their jobs. And, according to one recent report, male teachers are more likely to quit their jobs if the principal is a women. These situations can keep women from advancing their careers or accelere their disappearance from talent pipelines.