A familiar senario
When the opportunity for a promotion arises, Jeff and Linda, both on the same team, reach out to their manager, Bill, to indicate interest. Bill immediately proposes a lunch meeting with Jeff. Over sushi and a beer, Bill encourages Jeff, saying it will be a tough position but excellent for his career. Jeff feels energised and excided, knowing his boss believes he can succeed. A week later, Bill calls Linda into his office where, in a more formal setting, he lays out all the pros and cons of a new position. He explains how hard it will be and questions whether Linda would want to do it. Linda, who alreay feels as though she has had to fight to be successful in her last few roles, wonders whether she has the energy to prove herself again.
On paper women appear prepared
The path to a senior leadership position is a strenuous climb. On paper, women appear prepared for the ascent – they now make up a majority of graduates and 40% of the classes at top MBA programmes. Well educated, ambitious women are indeed moving up thte corporate ranks, but disproportionately few reach the summit. According to Catalyst, an organisation dedicated to workplace diversity, women make up just 25.1% of senior managers and excutives at S&P 500 companies and only 4.4% of CEOs, despite efforts by many companies to close the gap.
To understand why such a significant imbalance persists, Bain & Compay and LinkedIn surveyed in 2016 more than 8,400 male and female LinkedIn members who work for companies in the US and who had at least a bachelor’s degree. The sample covered the full career spectrum, from entry-level employees to top leaders, and it spanned all major industried.