What's Holding Women Back From Succeeding in the Workplace?


Jun 18, 2015

What's Holding Women Back From Succeeding in the Workplace?

The gender gap in the workplace is nothing new, but there could be a deeper reason as to why there aren't enough women in top-paying and high-ranking roles.

So far, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. Women currently hold 50 percent of college degrees and 40 percent of MBAs, but even knowledge alone can't seem to get the job done, so to speak.

The problem isn't a lack of tools, but that women are lacking the confidence to aim for those major job roles. 

A study by Julie Coffman and Bill Neuenfeldt for management consulting firm, Bain & Company, did some research on the subject. Their study revealed that upon entering the workforce, 43 percent of young women have the confidence to apply for top management roles. After only two years on the job, those numbers drop by more than 60 percent.

Another reason that could be holding women back from succeeding is lack of support in the workplace. After two years on the job, only 44 percent of female employees say their supervisor is supportive of their career aspirations, compared to 64 percent of new employees. 

KPMG International also looked into workplace confidence among women by conducting a survey within the firm among 3,000 female employees, ages 18-34. The results were revealed at their inaugural Women’s Leadership Summit by the firm's new U.S. CEO and chairman-elect, Lynne Doughtie. Survey results showed that six in ten women expressed interest in senior leadership roles, but six out of ten women had trouble picturing themselves filling those positions. 

One KPMG surveyor wrote, "I wish I had learned that it's okay to be nice to people and be a leader. Maybe it would have been great to learn how to be nice and how to be a leader at the same time."

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