The Best Way for Women to Advance their Careers!

This is the final post in a series of three about the latest Catalyst research The Myth of the Ideal Worker (see Does Doing All the Right Things Really Get Women Ahead? and What Every Woman Needs to Know About Work)

In brief, the research found that even when adopting the same strategies as men, the strategies generally viewed as effective, women do not advance at the same pace as their male counterparts. Of all the strategies used the most effective career strategy for women was making their achievements known to significant people, with networking also proving almost as effective for the women as the men.

Questions for Employers (and Women!) to Ask

Catalyst ask some searching questions at the conclusion of their report; they are good questions for women to ask of their employers, or potential employers too:

  • What assumptions do organisations and individuals hold about skills and behaviours that are necessary for successful advancement?
  • How are women and men being coached to get ahead? Are assumptions being made that what has worked for men will work for women (see Speak Up)
  • What explains why women are less satisfied with their advancement and compensation progress when comparing themselves to others in their field and at their level? Do women know what male counterparts are earning?
  • To what extent are people advanced and compensated based on skills and performance?
  • How might strategies used by women and men be evaluated differently?
  • How are individual contributions communicated and recognised for people who work in teams?
  • If women realised that changing jobs negatively impacts on their pay, what does that mean for for organisations seeking to recruit experienced women, leveraging their skills and experience?

It’s a minefield out there at times and this research seems to bear out my own prejudice that male norms prevail in all areas. How can women get ahead if the received wisdom for getting ahead primarily suits men? I am reminded of the fact that for many years all information put out about to how to spot the symptoms of heart attacks were only the symptoms that applied to men. Women have different symptoms but it had been overlooked.

I am looking at issues such as these and at how you as an individual can minimise the impact, in my Speak Up course. It seems not only shouldn’t you have to behave like a man to get ahead, but even if you do, you’re disadvantaged!

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Posted on October 28th, 2011 by

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