Catalyst studies show that women are just as ambitious as men and use the same career advancement strategies but they don’t get the same pay off. “Clearly, access to the ‘hot jobs’ and to senior-level sponsors with clout to create that access can make a dramatic difference in closing the persistent gender gap.” said Ilene H. Lang, President & Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst.
According to a new Catalyst report, Good Intentions, Imperfect Execution? Women Get Fewer of the Hot Jobs Needed to Advance, women get fewer of the high visibility, mission-critical roles and international experiences the so-called “hot jobs” that are key to getting ahead at global companies. Unequal access to those “hot jobs” may be an underlying cause of the persistent gender gap at senior levels.
If women are equally ambitious and use the same career advancement strategies, what prevents them from the access to these “hot jobs”? It’s the glass grid.
Everyone talks about the glass ceiling and having to knock on the glass ceiling to get ahead. What’s really going on is that women have a glass grid. This is a power grid that is so hidden and buried that women don’t know it exists and because they don’t know it exists, they don’t know how to navigate it.
Think talent and hard work are enough to get ahead? The workplace is a highly politicized environment where key decisions about who gets ahead, who gets the plum assignments, who gets the scarce resources are not just decided on merit. Understanding the politics and what really happens behind how decisions are made in the workplace is essential if women are to succeed.
Women tend to have less power and less access to power than men which puts them at a disadvantage. In their book, Political Skills at Work, authors Ferris, Davidson, and Perrewe state:
Women do not see the necessity of political maneuvering. This political deficiency relegates them quickly to the losers brackets and probably explains what appears to be active and blatant gender discrimination in promotion and advancement.
The glass grid redefines the journey women have to the top. The higher up you get in an organization, the more competitive the environment. In fact, the power often shifts as women move up which results in additional challenges to navigate the grid successfully. Political skill and savvy become even more important as women ascend the corporate ladder.
Today’s show focuses moving women into leadership positions in business; what companies need to do; what women can do to better position themselves for advancement.Joining me on the show is an expert on this topic, Toni Wolfman.
Toni Wolfman is a well-known and effective advocate for improved corporate governance and for the advancement of women to positions of leadership in the business world. In residence at Bentley University since 2005, Toni is a valued resource to faculty, students and alumnae on issues affecting women in business and the professions, a critical link between the University and business leaders, and a participant in research and programming for current and future women leaders. She is a former director of, and leads the corporate board search effort for, The Boston Club (New England’s largest organization of business and professional women); is a co-founder and former President of ION (a national network of organizations dedicated to advancing women to corporate leadership positions); founded and is co-chair of Women Corporate Directors–Boston (public company directors who meet periodically to share perspectives on corporate governance issues); and is a co-founder and director of The Thirty Percent Coalition (a new consortium of individual and organizational leaders committed to advance corporate board diversity as a governance and business imperative).
Toni is a Trustee of Smith College and was a long-time director of the Center for Women & Enterprise (the largest entrepreneurial training organization in New England). From 1977 through 2004, Toni practiced law with Foley Hoag LLP in Boston and she has been recognized for her contributions to the legal profession and to the advancement of women by the Boston Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Greater Boston Legal Services, The Boston Club and the Boston Business Journal (recipient of the BBJ’s inaugural Advancing Women Award in 2010, member of the BBJ’s initial “Power 50: Most Influential Bostonians” in 2011).
Having a great mentor can be extremely beneficial for career advancement, but choosing the best mentor for you needs to be a strategic decision to ensure the relationship will, in fact, help you move your career forward.
This week LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), released the findings of a study it conducted to learn more about professional women and their attitudes toward mentoring. LinkedIn surveyed nearly 1,000 female professionals in the United States. The survey results, made public during the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, show that more young professionals are taking advantage of mentoring.
According to the survey, younger women professionals are taking advantage of mentoring.
- More than half, 51 percent, of the Gen Y women (females between 18-29 years old) LinkedIn surveyed noted that they are being or have been mentored by women.
- Forty-three percent of Gen X females (women between 30-44 years old) noted that they are being or have been mentored by women.
- Only 34 percent of Boomers (females between 45-66 years old) noted that they are being or have been mentored by women.
A Catalyst study in 2010, found that mentoring, especially from senior level mentors, led to advancement up the corporate ladder for both women and men.
High potentials with current mentoring relationships received significantly more promotions.
The important point from the Catalyst study was that those high potentials with mentors at the CEO or senior executive level, or whose mentors were at higher levels than they were (i.e., supervisor level or above) received more promotions.
Women who had mentors at the top got promoted at the same rate as men who had mentors at the top.
Men were more likely to choose higher level mentors who advocated for them within the organization and acted as sponsors. These men, therefore, were more likely to get promoted. The women who had mentors at a lower level within the organization did not receive the same sponsorship and thus, were not able to advance their careers to the same degree as the men.
In their survey, LinkedIn also asked the women who had never mentored another professional why, and sixty-seven percent of those respondents said they have never been mentors because, “no one ever asked”.
If you are serious about your career consider finding a mentor.Think strategically about your career goal and choose a mentor who can best help you advance your career and who has the ability to sponsor you within the organization and then ASK!