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The Themes of Career Success: Career Advancement

After twenty-seven years of conducting gender diagnostics with organizations across the globe, and in the process, amassing over 240,000 survey responses with men and women leaders, the results of this North American survey are some of the highest scores we’ve seen for women in their perceptions of self and career success.

Our first diagnostic visual shows the scores given by our senior women respondents in the order that each theme was presented to them: Career Advancement, Self-Initiation, Leadership Maturity, Big Picture, and Leadership Responsibility.

This one graphic represents the overall findings of our study. As you can see in the center or bull’s eye of our Diagnostic Wheel, the scores for each of the five themes cluster around a center — or core of positive outlook — with Big Picture receiving the highest self-score of 87%.Leadership Responsibilities received the second highest at 86% followed by Leadership Maturity (82%), Self-Initiation (77%), and Career Advancement(74%).

What is most interesting and valuable in this graphic is their strength and self-confidence in their thoughts and actions, looking for the win-win approach, and centering their attention on achieving their organization’s strategic goals.

The circle around each score represents the standard deviation or indication of the level of agreement among the respondents. As this first illustration shows, Big Picture and Leadership Responsibilities have the highest scores and lowest deviations. What this says is that most all the women in our study are on the same page when it comes to their dedication to the success of the organization and self-confidence that their talents and skills are paving the right course. There is little self-doubt in their ability and readiness to lead.

Interestingly, the lowest scores and greatest deviations are in Career Advancement and Self-Initiation. It seems that the same challenges faced by many women in middle management still surface even among these successful women.

Let’s finish our look into each of these themes to see why the women in our survey rated each of the five areas they way they did—this week we look at the fifth and final theme, Career Advancement.


5. Career Advancement

Across the Five Themes of Career Success, the women in our survey consider Career Advancement their weakest area. They still maintain a clear vision, a career plan, and being passionate about their work (83%), but their challenge is in navigating the system (77%) by finding new opportunities, effectively negotiating the chain of command, and creating work-life balance.

Regardless of their self-confidence, their ability to do the job, and lead others to achieving organizational goals, many women, particularly at the senior level, still find the business culture unwelcoming and an impediment to their career advancement.

Whitepaper_CareerAdvancementThe lowest score in Career Advancement is in opting out (59%) and the greatest deviations in this study are in this category of quitting, or staying and disengaging. Many of the women in our study have – at one time or another – considered dropping out themselves.

Regardless of their self-confidence, their ability to do the job, and lead others to achieving organizational goals, many women, particularly at the senior level, still find the business culture unwelcoming and an impediment to their career advancement.

It’s obvious that women, even at the pinnacle of their careers, are still challenged in steering through the unwritten policies and procedures, yet they understand that the only way to achieve results is to learn the rules for navigating the system.

A trend we see in this study though is that many of these women are doing it, but with their authenticity intact. They realize that their inclusive approach to leadership and their natural talents at building and maintaining key relationships can be just as powerful and even more valuable in achieving organizational goals.

 


The above is excerpted from our White Paper in partnership with Thomson Reuters, “Solutions to Women’s Advancement.”