The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans
November 22, 2021
If you are a woman and early in your career path, there’s something you need to know:
Women face challenges in their career growth that men do not.
If you think that we’re beyond the gender problem, I invite you to think again… because we are not!
In fact, women face TWO specific challenges:
First - Women don’t move up to the next level within their first five years at the same pace as men
Second - Because they don’t get promoted, women do not develop the same leadership skills as men within this same time frame.
These two steps are essential for career growth!
Researchers call this the “broken rung.” According to a 2019 study by McKinsey and LeanIn.org, these obstacles that prevent women from progressing in their careers.
Here’s the thing:
If you don’t get promoted, you don’t get into the pipeline for further promotions. Instead, you play a game of catch-up and it’s easy to continue to fall behind.
So… what can you do about this?
As an answer to that question, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful group of early-career professional women that I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak with.
They were enrolled in a year-long program designed to address these common career-growth challenges that women face in the workplace. These women knew that they had to take control over what they needed and wanted in their careers. They were aware that if they were going to remove the obstacles they faced, they needed to understand the challenges that created them.
As part of their program, these women identified their values around what is important to them in the workplace. With that in mind, I spoke with them about three key areas that build upon what they value in the workplace.
- Work boundaries
These are foundational factors that support their values. (If you want to identify your own values with regards to the workplace, download the Corporate Culture worksheet.)
Here’s a quick summary of these key areas and how they support and align with your values:
Work Boundaries reflect how you want to be treated in the workplace. Keep in mind: You should treat others the same way you hope to be treated. Following the Golden Rule can serve a guiding light.
Confidence helps you define and establish your boundaries.
Assertiveness guides you towards using the right language to get your point across clearly and tactfully when your boundaries are threatened or compromised.
What I find most exciting about these key areas is that they are skills. That means you can learn them and practice them so that when you need them, you’ll be ready.
Here is what I’m hoping you’ll take away from this:
- You have to choose to take control over what you want and need in your career
- You can take action to combat the challenges you face
- Finding support through communities and a career coach can help you make these things happen for yourself.
We are still facing gender challenges in the workplace, but we are not victims to them. You can take specific, focused action to support your own career growth. When you do the work, success will follow.
Do you want to make sure you're happy in your next job?
Use this worksheet to clarify what you need in the next company you work for.