Headlines: August 10th, 2004

The glass ceiling which limits the progress of women to the top of organizations is becoming a less effective promotion barrier. A new survey suggests that a lack of encouragement and support for women is the issue that has become the limiting factor. The survey was carried out by HR Gateway in association with the Institute of Leadership and Management.The Equal Opportunities Commission agrees with the conclusions: “This very much fits the picture we have of the situation for women in the UK. A woman’s ascent up the career ladder is made up of many elements that do not affect men and they need to be taken into account. For example, organizations should be offering flexible working at all grades so that women do not have to move down the ladder when they return from having a child.”

The survey found that 59% of managerial level people feel that their organization is not doing enough to help women to the top. The remaining 41% thought that their organization did offer enough encouragement. This optimism for women’s chances of making it through to the top table was augmented by further figures from the same research. When asked if women were being overlooked for promotion in their organization because of their gender, the majority (60%) said ‘no’, suggesting that while lacking support, the glass ceiling is starting to crack.

Recent surveys have suggested that most women feel top positions are more likely to go to men, while women making it to the top are two to three times more likely to be divorced or single than men.