Inspite of women-driven corporate houses like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HSBC, Biocon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Britannia Industries, a new Catalyst report says unequal access to 'hot jobs' may be an underlying cause of the persistent gender gap at senior levels.
Women get fewer high visibility, mission-critical roles and international experiences (so-called 'hot jobs') that are key to getting ahead at global companies.
Catalyst research shows that on-the-job experience leads to advancement more quickly than training. Even among those who have completed training programs, men are still more likely than women to get the 'hot jobs'.
“Offering critical assignments to high-potential women as part of an intentional strategy can help break through the logjam that blocks advancement for talented women,” said Ilene H Lang, President & CEO of Catalyst. “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.”
According to the study, 62% of respondents said high-profile assignments that gave them leadership experience had the greatest impact on their careers, while only 10% cited formal training programs as most helpful.
The report is called Good Intentions, Imperfect Execution? Women Get Fewer of the Hot Jobs Needed to Advance.
Men reported leading projects with bigger budgets (over twice the size of women’s), larger teams (more than three times as many staff), that posed higher risk to the company (30% men versus 22% women), and had more C-suite visibility (35% men as against 26% women).
Over 50% men (56%) reported having roles with more critical responsibility for profit and loss as opposed to 46% women, management of direct reports (77% men versus 70% women), and budgets over $10 million (30% men versus 22% women).
International assignments predict advancement, and women get fewer than men but not because they’re unwilling to relocate. Of those most willing, more men (35%) than women (26%) got those assignments. Also, more women (64%) than men (55%) were never offered the opportunity. More men than women got 'hot jobs' after being in formal leadership development programs, and more men (51%) were promoted within a year of program completion against 37% women.
This research is part of 'The Promise of Future Leadership: A Research Program on Highly Talented Employees in the Pipeline', a study on high-potential talent. Findings for this report are based on the 1,660 respondents who answered follow-up surveys fielded in 2010 and 2011 (1,479 MBA alumni completed the 2010 survey; 914 completed the 2011 survey), which provided additional information on career progression initially collected in 2008.
This study was developed by the Catalyst Career Pathways Research Center, which is supported by Dell Inc and Deloitte LLP, Campbell Soup Corporation, DuPont Corporation and Kellogg Company to explore the nature and causes of persistent gender gaps in career advancement for women and men.