Recently I have been interviewing for a CEO role for an exciting start up. The role requires some key experience but most importantly requires huge personal initiative and drive for results.
An amazing insight I have discovered and realised when approaching and headhunting candidates is that there is a fundamental difference between a man and a woman’s response. When I approached men, they tended to respond with what they could contribute to the role as well as what skills they could bring. Whereas women, when approached often said why they couldn’t do in the role and emphasised the skills or experience they lacked for the opportunity.
I’ve outlined 8 key reasons why women won’t get what they want in the workplace from gender diversity and leadership opportunities:
- The perception that you need to “look like you work hard by being at the office”: discriminating against women working remotely and not publicly demonstrating deliverables.
- Unconscious biases: “jobs for the boys” & “old school ties”. This is may be due to single sex high schools that do not help men and women to learn how to interact & collaborate together in the workplace.
- The “nuclear family nuked generational childcare support”: rarely is there care for children by older family generations – by people who are related and love them. This places pressure on parents, particularly mothers to stay home and not drive a career.
- Women say no and Men say yes! In my 25 years of Executive Search experience I see a difference in genders when people are “headhunted”. Women always point out why they can’t do the job and what they lack in skills & experience and men will tell you what they can do -women say no and men say yes! This is well written about by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook who talks about why women don’t make it to the top. Women systematically underestimate their own abilities.
- Pregnant women are not predictable: So much is ahead and yet no one can be assured of what is ahead – only the universe holds the future and this does not help future proofing an organisation.
- Men are the Hunters and Women are the Gatherers: Our long history of heritage that prefers women to push the shopping trolley and nest with our young. I like the saying that you never know the torment of flying the coop, if you have never built a nest!
- “Men have egos and Women have pride”: Does that big promotion/job appeal more to men than women? Do women seek more pride in delivering good results- doing a good job, ignoring the politics?
- The power of the maternal gene is more ominous than the corporate ladder climbing gene. I know personally how many hours I have laid in bed tormented about how my kids are tracking at school, and if they feel supported and nurtured. Do men focus more on a difficult staff member than whether their child needs to improve at school?
Whatever the reasons, this may help to explain a little about the perceived “glass window” that I have personally never experienced. Maybe women simply don’t forge forward and back themselves enough?
Some decent food for thought!
For more information contact Simone Allan, Director at Mondo Search on 1300 737 917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.