McKinsey's Women in the Workforce Study Shows We've Got a Long Way to Go

In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step, according to McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace study. 

Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see, the report finds.

This disparity is especially pronounced for women of color, who face the most barriers to advancement and experience the steepest drop-offs with seniority.

Wile companies’ commitment to gender diversity is at an all-time high, many are struggling to put their commitment into practice and many employees are not on board, the study indicates. To level the playing field, companies need to treat gender diversity like the business imperative it is, and that starts with better communication, more training, and a clearer focus on results, McKinsey says.

Survey findings include:

• For every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted: Promotion rates for women lag behind those of men, and the disparity is the largest at the first step up to manager. As a result, far fewer women end up on the path to leadership.

• Very few women are in line to become CEO: By the time women reach the SVP level, they hold just 20% of line roles, and line roles lead more directly to the C-suite: In 2015, 90% of new CEOs in the S&P 500 were promoted or hired from line roles.

• Women experience an uneven playing field: Women get less access to the people and opportunities that advance careers and are disadvantaged in many of their daily interactions. These inequities appear to take a toll on women: They are less likely to think they have equal opportunities for growth and development—and more likely to think their gender will play a role in missing out on a raise, promotion, or chance to get ahead.

Women in the Workplace 2016 is a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. The study is part of a partnership between LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to give companies the information they need to promote female leadership and foster gender equality in the workplace. Some 132 companies employing more than 4.6 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of HR practices. In addition, 34,000 employees completed a survey designed to uncover their attitudes on gender, job satisfaction, ambition, and work-life issues.

LOAD MORE