Women don’t benefit from ‘doing all the right things’
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Commonly used strategies
for moving up the corporate ladder -- such as building a relationship with your
boss and the boss’ boss or letting your boss know you are ready for a
challenging assignment -- work for men, but not so well for women, according to
Catalyst’s latest report, "The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All the
Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?”
The report, which
studied high-potential women and men in the executive pipeline, reveals that
being proactive benefits men, but does not provide as great an advantage for
"This study busts the
myth that ‘Women don't ask.’ In fact, they do! But it doesn't get them very
far. Men, by contrast, don't have to ask. What's wrong with this picture?” said
Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst.
The strategies adopted
by high-potential women had little bearing on the rate at which they advanced
to leadership, while men who applied the most proactive career strategies
advanced further than other men, according to the report, which studied
commonly used career strategies.
Indeed, women seem to be
paid for proven performance, while men seem to be paid for potential, Catalyst
reported. Women who changed jobs two or more times post-MBA earned $53,472 less
than women who rose through the ranks at their first job. In contrast, men who
had moved on from their first post-MBA job earned $13,743 more than those who
stayed with their first employer.
Across all career
profiles, men were more likely to reach senior executive and CEO positions than
women; in the most proactive category, 21 percent of men advanced to leadership
roles, compared with 11 percent of women.
The report found women
do "ask,” but the asking doesn’t close the gender pay or position gap. After
their first post-MBA jobs, there were no gender differences in whether or not
high potentials negotiated for greater compensation (63 percent of women vs. 54
percent of men) or for a higher position when beginning their current job (19
percent of women vs. 17 percent of men). Even though these women negotiate for
more when they change jobs, Catalyst found women’s compensation growth was
faster when they remained with the same employer, where they had proven
performance, than when they started with a new employer, who paid based on
Pay and position gaps
can’t be explained by the suggestion that women are seeking out slower career
tracks, either. Catalyst found women are less satisfied than men with their
career growth. If women were intentionally seeking slower tracks, the study
would find them to be as satisfied as men, despite their slower advancement.
Women must adopt
strategies different from their male colleagues’ to advance their careers,
according to the study. When women were proactive in making their achievements
known, they advanced further, increased their compensation growth and were more
satisfied with their careers. They also advanced further when they proactively
networked with influential others. Making their achievements known did not
impact men’s careers. Rather, gaining access to influential others also helped
men advance, and indicating a willingness to work long hours and conducting
external scans for other opportunities helped men increase their salaries.
The report was sponsored by Chevron Corp., a Network of Executive Women
title sponsor, and Deutsche Bank AG.