Workplace equality is an uphill battle female leaders have fought for decades. But surprisingly, there is one place where women shine — at the CEO level at some of the biggest companies across the country.
According to a new report from the Associated Press and Equilar, among the 25 highest-paid CEOs, five of them were women — a large representation, considering only six percent of all CEOs in the S&P 500 are female.
But what about the rest of the C-Suite? iCIMS’ new “Women in the Workforce” study reveals that while 94 percent of workers say they have a woman on their leadership team, only 32 percent have high-level or C-level leaders at their company who are female.
While women are clearly making a mark in the S&P market, there are some hurdles aspiring leaders face in today’s market that can make it harder to climb to the top. Here’s a snapshot:
Challenges For Female Leaders
Career Advancement Opportunities
Sixty-two percent of female executives have been passed up for a promotion for an employee of another gender, iCIMS reports.
Workplace flexibility and work/life balance are important. Both men and women worry about how an extended leave will impact their career, especially when it comes to development and opportunities for promotion. This workplace benefit is especially important for working mothers and women planning to have children in the future.
A good mentor can make a big difference when it comes to career growth. This is especially true for women in male-dominated career paths like engineering or science. A recent study from Harvard Business Review also suggests male mentors are less likely to challenge female mentees, based off their own perceptions of female ability.
Don’t Take Your Foot Off The Pedal
While challenges exist, that doesn’t mean they can’t be conquered. I asked Danielle Weinblatt, our CEO here at ConveyIQ, for some advice for women looking to grow their careers. She shared some wisdom from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg:
“It’s about not taking your foot off the gas pedal in your career."
“It’s about not taking your foot off the gas pedal in your career,” she said. “It means always looking to see how and where you can add value to your organization, and it also means leaning towards opportunities that may seem risky or uncomfortable at first, but offer great exposure and a chance to learn something new and challenging.”
The challenges women face in the workplace aren’t going to be solved overnight. But companies can take steps to encourage career development and growth for all their employees and inspire the female leaders of tomorrow.