Women in the Workplace: We Have a Long Way to Go

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Photo Credit: womenintheworkplace.com

Yesterday, McKinsey & Co and Lean In released their yearly Women in the Workplace report. Over 200 companies employing more than 12 million people participated in this year’s study. The takeaway? We have a long way to go, especially if you are a woman of color. I highly encourage everyone to read the full report, but for the time-strapped among us, below are some of the report’s key findings:

  • The bar for gender equality is too low

    Nearly 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman.

  • Women hit the glass ceiling early

    At the first critical step up to manager, women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted than their male peers.

  • Men are more likely to say they get what they want without having to ask

    Women of all races and ethnicities negotiate for raises and promotions at rates comparable to their male counterparts. However, men are more likely to say they have not asked for a raise because they are already well compensated or a promotion because they are already in the right role.

  • Women get less of the support that advances careers

    Women are less likely to receive advice from managers and senior leaders on how to advance, and employees who do are more likely to say they’ve been promoted in the last two years.

  • Women are less optimistic they can reach the top

    Women are less likely than men to aspire to be a top executive, and those who do are significantly less likely than men to think they’ll become one.

  • Men are less committed to gender diversity efforts

    Men are less likely to say gender diversity is a top personal priority and point to concern over de-emphasizing individual performance as the primary reason. Some men even feel that gender diversity efforts disadvantage them.

  • Many women still work a double shift

    On average, 54 percent of women do all or most of the household work, compared to 22 percent of men.

There are many other really interesting findings, but the most important part of the report as far as I’m concerned are the recommendations to organizations for how to achieve gender equality. Of course, there is no one-size fits all option and solutions will vary from company to company, but these recommendations are a great starting point for helping companies remove the inequalities that prevent them from unleashing the power of a diverse workforce.

  • Make a compelling case for gender diversity

    Show your commitment and make a strong business case. When employees understand that gender diversity leads to better business results, they are more like to be personally committed.

  • Invest in more employee training

    Understanding how implicit bias affects behavior and decision-making empowers employees to make fairer, more objective decisions

  • Give managers the means to drive change

    Give managers visibility into the scope of the problem and the tools they need to be part of the solution.

  • Ensure that hiring, promotions and reviews are fair

    Companies should review their hiring and review processes to make sure there aren’t gaps or inconsistencies. They should track outcomes and set gender targets so they have clear goals and can gunge progress.

  • Give employees the flexibility to fit work into their lives

    Programs that offer parental leave beyond what’s mandated by law, run programs that ease employees’ transitions after extended leaves and support parents on an ongoing basis are incredibly helpful in retention efforts.

  • Focus on accountability and results

    Companies need to place more emphasis on tracking, targets, and transparency – the building blocks of accountability.

    What are your thoughts about the report’s findings and suggestions?

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