Even though companies are investing more time and effort into diversity and gender equality in the workplace, there is still a lot of work to be done. Women continue to be under-represented at every level, even though company commitment to gender diversity is at an all-time high. The results from the 2017 Women in the Workplace Study show just how much there is to accomplish.
“Despite this commitment, progress continues to be too slow—and may even be stalling. One of the most powerful reasons for this is a simple one: we have blind spots when it comes to diversity, and we can’t solve problems that we don’t see or understand clearly,” the study summarizes.
In particular, there are three important messages that organizations need to be aware of:
- We’re comfortable with the status quo: Many employees assume women are properly represented in leadership roles when they only see a few. This has reduced the urgency for change.
- We overlook the challenges women of colour face: Women of colour face the greatest obstacles, end up underserved and left behind when companies take a one-size-fits-all approach to advancing women.
- Women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step: Women are under-represented in the corporate world. Fewer women than men continue to be hired at entry level, and representation declines at each advancement step.
Here are the key findings that have stemmed from the study:
- The bar for gender equality is too low: Close to 50% of men think women are well represented, when only 1 in 10 senior leaders are women.
- Women hit the glass ceiling early in their career: Women are 18% less likely to be promoted than male peers.
- Women get less career advancement support: Women are less likely to get support from managers and senior leaders.
- Women are less optimistic they can reach the top: Women are less likely to aspire to become a top executive.
- Men are less committed to gender diversity efforts: Men are less likely to say diversity is a priority. Some even claim it is a disadvantage. 15% of men think their gender will make it more difficult for them to advance their career.
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