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Key Results of the 2015 Women In the Workplace Study

Topics: Current Events

Women in the Workplace, a recent study conducted by and McKinsey & Company – building off of similar work done by the latter in 2012 – examines the current state of women in corporate America. Over 100 companies and nearly 30,000 employees participated. The survey results and accompanying data shed some light on the fact that women are still underrepresented at every level of corporate life, and the study goes a step further, examining the root causes of the problem. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the key findings.

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1. Women are more underrepresented the higher they climb.

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The results show some improvement since 2012, but women are still underrepresented on every rung of the corporate ladder. Women make up 45 percent of entry-level positions (compared with 42 percent in 2012) but, at the most senior executive level, they account for just 17 percent (moving one percentage point in the right direction since 2012).

2. It’s not that women don’t want to lead, or that they’re more interested in work-life balance than men.

One refrain that seems to run on a loop when it comes to women and work is that women are held back by their priorities. Or, more precisely, that women crave more work-life balance than men do on average – that they are more likely to put their families first, and that holds them back professionally. In fact, recent studies have found just the opposite is true, and the results of the 2015 Women In the Workplace study confirm this.

The data reveal that although women were less likely than men to aspire to top positions, especially once they were already far along in the ranks, men were more likely than women to cite the ability to balance work and family as their reason to not want the top jobs. Women on the other hand, whether they had children or not, cited “stress/pressure” as their number one concern. Across the board, parents were more likely to say they wanted to be promoted to a top position. In fact, mothers were 15 percent more interested in being a top executive than other women.

3. There is a lack of understanding about the problem.

Although 70 percent of men surveyed reported feeling that gender diversity was important, only 12 percent felt that women had fewer opportunities. Only a third of women felt that gender diversity was a top priority for their direct manager. Thirteen percent of men said that, actually, it’s harder for men to advance, due to gender-diversity programs.

4. The responsibility gap at home persists.

Men who hold senior-level positions are five times more likely than women to have a stay-at-home partner, according to the study. At the executive level, women are 85 percent more likely than male execs to have a partner who works full time. Furthermore, at every level of corporate life, women are more than four times more likely to say they do more chores than men, and they are nine times more likely to say they are responsible for more childcare. The gap, overall, does seem to be improving in terms of general household responsibilities, but childcare is still falling, at an alarmingly disproportionate rate, to women.

Check out the full report for more information.

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