The fifth annual “Women in the Workplace” study from consulting firm McKinsey and Company and the Lean In Organisation, founded by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, has been released and provides a snapshot of life for women in corporate America.
A total of 68,500 employees were analysed between May and August 2019, with responses collected from employees across 329 organisations.
Empirically, the figures suggest an encouraging trend. Over the last five years, the percentage of women in C-suite has increased from 17 percent to 21 percent.
And 44 percent of companies have three or more women in their C-suite. Four years ago, only 29 percent of companies fit this bill.
Despite the improvements 73% of women reported experiencing everyday discrimination.
The tired adage that women don’t ask for promotions as often as men has been put to rest. The survey found that women are asking and negotiating salaries at exactly the same rate as men.
While only one in three managers is female 62 percent of men and 54 percent of women believed women are well represented at the manager level.
Lareina Yee, a senior partner at McKinsey, said having more women at the table making decisions that affect the whole company can only be a good thing.
“When you think about the women in the organisation, someone who’s a first manager or a V.P., she can look up at the top and see role models, and women doing it. She’ll have more confidence that she can as well.”
The disparity between men and women regarding perceptions of workplace accountability is also interesting. Half the men surveyed believed disrespectful behaviour towards women is quickly addressed by their company. The percent of women who believe this? 32.
What about the myth that men don’t ask for parental leave at the numbers women do? Wrong too. The survey revealed that men were “roughly as likely as women” to take time off to care for a newborn.
But asking and receiving are two very different things. The equality in the two conclusions stated above ends there.
For every 100 men receiving a promotion, just 72 women are receiving one. The figures are even more dismal for women of colour. For every 100 men promoted, there are just 68 Latinas and 58 black women promoted.
Yee, who is also the chief diversity and inclusion officer at McKinsey, believes more needs to be done.
“As a woman of color in business, it’s more personal,” she says. “There’s a huge disparity that starts very early … Women get stuck before they can even get through that very first promotion.”
On Monday, I joined a panel at Aspen Ideas Festival on breaking barriers for women. Here are a few of my takeaways from that session. https://t.co/DHmIsGTKRs
— Lareina Yee (@LareinaYee) June 26, 2019
So what are the root causes of these problems, and more importantly, how do we stamp them out? The report points to various culprits but says the “the broken rung”, the fact that women miss that first step up to manager, is the biggest systemic barrier to gender parity.
The fact this isn’t widely viewed as a problem – as evidenced by the majority of respondents believing women are well represented – compounds its effect.
If it is address and women are promoted and hired to first-level manager at the same rates as men, McKinsey and LeanIn say an additional 1 million women would join the management ranks in the next five years.
Sheryl Sandberg told The Wall Street Journal, “Companies should do everything they can to make their workplaces more fair—starting with putting best practices in place to get bias out of hiring and promotions. When you take bias out of the equation, women will finally get the equal chance they’ve always deserved. Everyone will.”