Women get fewer leadership opportunities: Survey

Women get fewer leadership opportunities: Survey

Fewer leadership opportunities or 'hot jobs' for women might be an underlying cause of the persistent gender gap at senior levels, according to findings of a recent global survey.

"Not all leadership opportunities are created equal. 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," said a Catalyst report 'Good Intentions, Imperfect Execution? Women Get Fewer of the Hot Jobs Needed to Advance'.

High-visibility projects, mission-critical roles and international experiences are hallmarks of 'hot jobs' that predict advancement, yet Catalyst findings show that women get fewer of these 'hot jobs' than men. Men  reported leading projects with bigger budgets (more than twice the size of women), larger teams (more than three times as many staff), that posed higher risk to the company and had more C-suite visibility, it said.

It further said more men reported having roles with more critical responsibility-for profit and loss, management of direct reports and budgets over $10 million. International assignments predict advancement, and women
get fewer than men-but not because they're unwilling to relocate, it said.

Of those most willing, 35 per cent men compared to 26 per cent women got those assignments and 64 per cent women than 55 per cent men were never offered the opportunity.

More men than women got 'hot jobs' after being in formal leadership development programmes, and more men were promoted within a year of programme completion, it said.

"Offering critical assignments to high-potential women as art of an intentional strategy can help break  through the logjam that blocks advancement for talented women," Catalyst President and Chief Executive  Officer Ilene H Lang said.

"The study 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," she said.

This research was conducted through an online at 26 leading business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States.

Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organisation expanding opportunities for women and business.