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Study: Women’s career development falling short

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Companies aren’t devoting enough resources to retaining and advancing women employees, and often don't keep track of whether their women’s leadership initiatives are succeeding, according to a survey of more than 2,500 companies across industries.

Although 57 percent of the Massachusetts companies surveyed by The Commonwealth Institute say advancing women’s leadership is a goal, resources are disproportionately directed to development programs for women, rather than programs aimed at retaining and advancing women, according to the study of Massachusetts companies by The Commonwealth Institute.

Development programs often focus on group activities, while retention and advancement programs — such as listening tours and mentoring programs — tend to be more focused on individuals, Elizabeth Hailer, TCI executive director, told the Boston Business Journal. “Companies are struggling with women checking out.”

Two-thirds of the companies surveyed don’t measure the number of women in leadership or track retention or advancement or retention rate.

Women-led businesses reported having more women represented throughout the leadership structure, and organizations with revenue of $20 million or more were much more likely than smaller businesses to have women’s leadership programs in place (68 percent vs. 36 percent).