The business world has always been far more challenging for women to scale to the top than men.
Plenty of women succeed in today’s more inclusive work environment as they gain the brass ring—yet for way too many, it always seems out of reach, no matter how hard they try.
Women are dissatisfied feeling the pressure to flourish more than ever, with women leaders switching jobs at the highest rates we’ve ever seen—and at higher rates than men in leadership.[i]
No one, least of all me, is championing lifelong tenure as the best career advice. However, I do caution against leaping to another position willy-nilly. Instead, try this on for size:
First, your internal confront is strategic, not emotional. Step into your thriving future by basing your resolve on “moving toward something better” rather than rushing to “move away from something you don’t want.” Our tendency as humans is to escape for our survival. When it comes to your career, that isn’t the proper motivator.
Just look at what happened to all those recent “Great Resignation” executives who didn’t include these judgments in their move. When you track the results, it didn’t turn out quite as career-elevating as the women expected, as 42 percent say that the new job has not lived up to their expectations. They regret leaving their old company and don’t intend to stay any longer than necessary.
Second, your external confront is to acquire clarity concerning the culture. Your primary interview intention should be on the organization’s cultural environment while assessing how your passions and long-term career aspirations will align. Your goal is to seek a culture that will fairly treat and value you for who you are. Too many executives don’t pay enough attention to this area.
There are corporate policies that help and others that hinder a woman’s career trajectory. Check out these four areas you’ll want to explore for your next role with your personal internal and external confronts top of mind.
Coaching Opportunity: Research discloses that nearly half of male candidates vying for C-suite positions received detailed information and coaching for the spots. And only 15 percent of women received the same. Tactically explore women’s career development options in the organization when you’re interviewing company officials, and pay particular attention as you speak with and listen to stories from their executive women.[ii]
Income Role Possibility: McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn have shown that executives achieve C-Suite positions at higher rates through the income side of the business. Another research adds fuel to the fire. It discloses: Men are three times as likely to have been considered for profit-and-loss roles and twice as likely to have received a promotion within the last 24 months.[iii] Judiciously probe the possibilities of expanding your business knowledge through cross-functional sharing. Remember that companies consider executives with a broader understanding of the organization as their “gold star” executives. This corporate identifier opens doors for you to move into areas of choice that will have you thriving.
First Manager Promotion: Organization’s “broken rung” trend have women executives receiving promotions to the manager position at far lower rates than men.[iv] This delay has you, a woman executive, trailing behind your male peers your entire career. Wouldn’t checking out the gender statistics and ratio of managers at your potentially new organization be a good one to find out?
Sponsor/Mentor–Ship: At the top level of career development, executive women are discussed and considered, but that’s not enough. Harvard Business Review disclosed a gender bias in the support companies provide their executives. 50 percent of men are offered sponsor support and help to orchestrate their careers. The advice women receive more often is how to change and adjust themselves to advance in the organization.[v] Investigate the company’s commitment to sponsorship as you interview, including the process they have to decide who receives one.
For more years than I can count, senior leaders have been announcing loudly and clearly that they embrace advancing women and the concept of equity. However, the reality of this commitment still needs to be realized. Forecasts say that women should reach parity by 2030. BUT that prediction doesn’t consider the effect of the pandemic, where the macro-view of the U.S. labor force lost 1.067 million women.
Your micro-experience doesn’t have to reflect that. Craft your career and then take action to bring it to fruition, no matter the barriers. You own your today and future! Stop trailing behind!
[i] McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn’s Women in the Workplace 2022
[ii] Working Mother and the National Association for Female Executives., 2019
[iv] McKinsey & Co., Women In The Workplace, 2021.