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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Male-dominated culture is significant barrier to women reaching the top, say senior executives


Corporate cultures deemed excessively dominated by males are stopping women reaching the boardroom, according to senior executives.

A quarter (23 percent) of respondents said it was the single biggest barrier to progression, while half (52 percent) believe today’s corporate cultures are dramatically reducing the length of time women are prepared to stay and develop their career with a particular employer.

“The Balancing Act: a study of how to balance the talent pipeline in business,” undertaken by the Inspire board network and executive search firm Harvey Nash, also revealed that the benefits of an improved culture would be felt across the entire organisation.

Just one in nine organisations said their organisation was successful at retaining, developing and promoting women up the food chain. Despite this, most people felt gender quotas weren’t the answer: 67 percent were against these but in favour of targets.

When asked what would help redress the situation, female respondents said an improved culture (52 percent), flexible working (36 percent) and the removal of unconscious bias in the workplace (23 percent) would encourage them to stay longer.

The report also found that more than half of respondents felt it would take at least ten years before women make-up one-third of private sector boards, while 16 percent said it would take more than 15 years – quite a gloomy thought, and one which shows it’s important for organisations to be proactive in this area.

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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