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Work/life, boys’ club are top issues for career women

Tuesday, March 01, 2016  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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Work/home balance is the top workplace concern for women, according to a recent study by SkillSoft.

Women identified work/home balance (63 percent), “glass ceiling” or “boys’ club” (53 percent) and unequal pay for equal jobs (50 percent) as the top three issues facing women in the workplace today, according to “The Impact of Women in the Workforce,” based on a survey of 486 women worldwide (nearly 80 percent in North America) by Skillsoft.

“A lot of the time the biggest challenge is making a choice — family, home or career,” one survey respondent noted. “Men just don’t have to make the same choice [all things being equal], so the first choice is career.”

Added another: “I think there needs to be a complete redress of what is required of senior leaders in general to balance having a family.”

More than one-third (37 percent) of the women named a lack of mentors/sponsors as a top workplace issue they face (37 percent), followed by lack of promotion opportunities (30 percent), retaining high-potential women (29 percent), women stuck in low-challenge roles (18 percent) and gender discrimination in the workplace (14 percent.)

Nearly every woman surveyed, 92 percent, agreed with the statement, “There is an imbalance of women in leadership roles in business today.” Asked about their own organizations, 87 percent of the women said there were more men than women in senior positions.

Just over half of the respondents (53 percent) believe it is very or extremely important for companies to have programs specifically aimed at developing women leaders. “There are unofficial women’s groups within our company,” one survey respondent noted, “but the company does not specify certain programs for women-only development.”

Few of the women surveyed feel their companies are adequately addressing the leadership gender gap. Less than one-third feel enough is being done to address gender imbalance: Just 1 percent rated their organizations’ efforts as “excellent,” 7 percent rated them “very good” and 20 percent “good.” Seventy-one percent rated their companies’ efforts as “fair” or “poor.”

“We have several groups and programs,” one survey respondent noted. “Women are developed and prepared, but few moved into senior positions.”

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