This Sunday March 8th, women around the world will create an equal sign for International Women’s Day. It’s a physical signal to the world, to the establishment, and to one another, that an equal world is an enabled world. The #EachforEqual theme asks every person to consider, “How will you forge a gender equal world?”
At reacHIRE, we are all about taking action and creating change for women through our Return-to-Work programs and the Aurora digital platform for early career women.
In honor of #IWD2020, we wanted to share a recent survey reacHIRE conducted to dig deeper into the first “broken rung” highlighted in the 2019 McKinsey and LeanIn.org Women in the Workplace report. The McKinsey/LeanIn.org report showed that despite entering the workforce at the same rate as men, professional women are not promoted at the same rate. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 72 women are promoted.
The impact of the first broken rung is huge for all women.If women are promoted and hired to first-level manager at the same rate as men, there will be one million more women added to management in Corporate America over the next five years.
For our survey, we asked more than 400 early-career women to tell us, in their own words, what they need most from their employers to help them succeed. The question was open ended, not multiple choice. Our goal was to hear the individuality – and commonality – of women’s voices.
The results showed that by far, the areas where Millennial and Gen Z women are looking for help and guidance from their employers to achieve career success are skills & training, and guidance & community support. Over and over, women asked for more “formal” and “specific” professional development to improve their skills and achieve more success. They specifically asked for “mentors”, “support” and “networks.”
Women want more “opportunities to learn” and “experiences” at work that offer clearer expectations with direct feedback from their managers. They need “better communication” and “more detail on expectations.”
Interestingly, women also noted wanting help with building personal skills including “applying myself more”, “confidence,” “determination,” “motivation” and “self advocacy”.
By understanding what’s holding women back, companies can make investments that move women forward, rather than invest in areas that check a box but have little impact overall. The business case for supporting early-career women is clear.
So, on this International Women’s Day, in addition to sharing our Equal Signs and voices, let’s grab our tool belts. It’s time we work together to fix the first broken rung on the corporate ladder for all women and more confidently ascend to a more gender equal world.