Women still facing a glass ceiling in leadership opportunities

According to a new survey of women in the workforce by Skillsoft, a global leader in learning and talent management, it appears that in global business women are concerned that their employers are not doing enough to close the gender gap in leadership opportunities.

In the report, Skillsoft indicated that 90 per cent of the 450 women who participated in the international survey reported that male employees are currently holding a disproportionate number of leadership roles. Furthermore, Skillsofts reveals that more than half - 54 per cent - of the female respondents who were management candidates highlighted the importance, but lack of, their employers providing leadership training programs specific to women.

In addition, nearly 70 per cent of the female participants believed that their employers fail to deliver or do not currently provide adequate resources and support to help them progress their leadership careers.

The major concern is that the respondents’ perceptions of their working environment, and the perceived management glass ceiling, do actually provide an accurate representation of the status of woman in leadership. In the United States, women hold more than half of all professional-level jobs, yet they command only 5 per cent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. In other countries, for example in Europe, women comprise less than 20 per cent of all corporate boards and women represent even fewer than that at just 6 per cent representation in corporate boards in Asia.

In order to acknowledge the key factors inhibiting women’s career progression and then implement the necessary career development programs, employers have to realise that there are serious impediments to woman progressing to leadership positions. Skillsoft’s study importantly reveals that unsurprisingly work-life balance is the top concern for 63 per cent of women.

According to a recent Eudemonia study, it would appear that competing priorities (home, family, work) often limit the opportunities women have to develop into leaders within their organisation,

“Companies must cultivate the ongoing culture of respect for people’s time, recognise the deeply-ingrained challenges women face and start to realistically enable their advancement.”