Survey: Corporate culture hinders women's careers
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
Female executives are
sure of their own abilities to become top managers, but are much less confident
that their companies’ cultures can support their advancement, according to a new
report by McKinsey & Co.
Collective, corporate culture factors, such as diversity being a core company value, are more than twice as likely as
individual factors, such as proactively asking for a promotion, to link to
women’s confidence that they can reach top management positions, according to
"Moving mind-sets on gender diversity,” which analyzed responses from 1,421 men
and women executives who responded to the McKinsey Global Survey.
Download full report
The survey results point to
several corporate hurdles that women believe hinder their rise to the top, including current views on female leadership and the behaviors that top managers should display. Almost 40 percent of female respondents believe their leadership and communication styles don’t fit with the prevailing habits required to be effective top managers where they work.
The report also reveals men's lack of understanding of the challenges women face in the workplace. While three-quarters of men
agree that diverse leadership teams with significant numbers of women generate
better company performance, just 19 percent of male respondents strongly agree that "reaching top
management is harder for women." They are almost six times more likely than
women to disagree with that statement.
Another hurdle: Many
companies’ performance model. Most men and women agree that a top-level career
implies "anytime, anywhere” availability to work and that this standard imposes
a particularly severe penalty on female professionals. What’s more, when asked
whether having children is compatible with a top-level career for women, 62
percent of all respondents agree, but a much larger share (80 percent) says the
same about men’s careers.
Still, female respondents said their career ambitions
are just as high as those of their male peers. Seventy-nine percent of all
mid-level or senior-level women said they have the desire to reach a
top-management position over the course of their careers, compared with 81
percent of mid-level or senior men. Looking at responses from the senior
executives who are one step away from the c-suite, women (51 percent) are more
likely than men (37 percent) to strongly agree that they want to advance to the