Getting more women into the CEO chair means creating a new path from employee to executive

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In the United States, the representation of women in leadership roles is showing some progress, though it lags behind many other countries, according to a study of Russell 3000 companies by FactSet. 

In fact, just 5.5% of U.S. CEOs are women — and a self-inflicted “pipeline problem” may be to blame.

“Companies need to break down gendered career paths, so women climbing the career ladder don’t get stuck in job silos that are historically female, like communications, HR, and support roles,” Becky Frankiewicz, President of North American at ManpowerGroup, told Insider.

These are roles “that don’t typically lead to the highest levels of business leadership,” Frankiewicz said.

While the study found 19.4% of senior executives at Russell 3000 companies were women, their representation in profit-center or technology leadership drops to 12.4%. This is crucial because these roles are the ones most likely to be considered “stepping stones to the chief executive role,” according to FactSet. 

Women in leadership are overwhelmingly most likely to be sitting in HR or chief administrative or compliance roles. This “pipeline problem” — or the perception that qualified candidates are simply absent from the overall pool — is even more evident when looking at the breakdown of women in various leadership roles. 

A pre-existing condition

It’s no secret that gender discrimination has prevented women not only from the highest ranks of corporate leadership but also from other workplace benefits that would enable them to continue advancing their careers while pursuing a family life outside of work. But being present in the office has been a major barrier to reaching the top.

“Prioritizing presenteeism over performance has held women back,” Frankiewicz said. 

The new study, for example, theorized that the pipeline for women into senior-most roles is blocked by a lack of opportunities in management of profit and loss (P&L) responsibility.

It also noted that with the pandemic impacting working women disproportionately in terms of share of household work and job loss, policy makers and business leaders need to put intentional effort into building equity in the workplace.

“Yet the good news is this moment could change this for the better,” Frankiewicz said. She explained that the decreasing focus on presenteeism and credentials is giving way to skills and outputs, and that this could benefit women.

Fixing the damage of COVID-19

The pandemic has unfortunately made the outlook for gender equity far worse. 

Research from McKinsey shows more women are leaving the workforce, their jobs are at higher risk, and they’re far more likely than their male counterparts to be considering a different job or working fewer hours to better accommodate changes in lifestyle due to the pandemic.

“To hire more and address longstanding talent shortages, employers should look at the requirements they set as they recruit,” Frankiewicz said.

For example, she noted that ManpowerGroup research has found 86% of IT job openings require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, yet just 43% of IT workers have one. These requirements need to change to ensure more diverse talent has access to future growth …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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