Companies have a new pipeline problem
Despite modest gains in representation over the last eight years, women—and especially women of color—are still dramatically underrepresented in corporate America. And this is especially true in senior leadership: only 1 in 4 C-suite leaders is a woman, and only 1 in 20 is a woman of color. Moreover, most companies are grappling with two pipeline problems that make achieving gender equality in their organization all but impossible:
The “broken rung” remains broken. For the eighth consecutive year, a “broken rung” at the first step up to manager is holding women back. For every 100 men who are promoted from entry level to manager, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted. As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, and women can never catch up. There are simply too few women to promote into senior leadership positions.7
More women leaders are leaving their companies. Now companies have a new pipeline problem. Women leaders are leaving their companies at the highest rate in years, and the gap between women and men leaders leaving is the largest we’ve ever seen. To put the scale of the problem in perspective: for every woman at the director level who gets promoted to the next level, two women directors are choosing to leave their company.
Many women are switching jobs for better opportunities, but some are considering downshifting and leaving the workforce. In the past year, 29% of women—and 22% of men—have thought about reducing their hours, taking a less demanding job, or leaving the workforce altogether, although far fewer have actually taken these actions.