A New Type of Gap
Past over for a Job? Didn’t get that promotion? If you’re a woman, it may be your network.
We are all familiar with the term pay gap in describing the disparity between the compensation of men and women. According to some new research there may also exist another type of gap between the sexes – a networking gap.
Why Women Lag Behind Men in Networking Skills
According to the findings of Marie Lalanne and Paul Seabright of the Toulouse School of Economics, executive directors that have more ex-colleagues on boards, have higher pay rates. What does this have to do with women? Seabright explains that men are better at taking casual relationships and incorporating them into their professional networks. They also appear to better at maintaining a high profile within their networks. Women, on the other hand, tend to have only a few strong relationships within their networks. Fewer relationships, less high profile – you do the math.
Now it’s no secret that most jobs are found through ones professional network. The reality for women is that a smaller, less influential, less high profile network will ultimately result in fewer opportunities. If you’re not on their radar, you won’t be found.
How Women Can Build Powerful Networks
If you want to be ready for the next opportunity, start creating a powerful network now. Here are three ways you can start networking like your savvy counterparts.
1. Create a list of influential board members within your company or industry. Target 3 of them with the goal of building an authentic relationship and adding them to your professional network.
2. look for networking opportunities everywhere and once you’ve connected with someone, put effort into building a lasting relationship.
3. Establish a presence within your industry or organization. Creating a higher profile will keep you in the forefront of decision makers when opportunities arise.
If this is something you just don’t feel you can do on your own, the Center 4 Executive Women can help you reach your goals. Contact us at: email@example.com.
Why the Lack of Female Leaders?
The question for company’s and the women that work in them, is what can be done to close the gap and allow for more opportunity for qualified women to fill some of these coveted executive positions? Just as there is no one reason why women have trouble filling these positions, there is no one solution that is going to fix the problem. However, recent studies have shed some light on why women lag behind in landing executive positions. Broadly speaking, women feel as though they have not had the same opportunities as their male counterparts to develop many of their executive and leaderships skills. Thanks to recent studies, their feelings are well founded. For example, the lack of women at the top has made it difficult for aspiring female executives to find role models and mentors that can coach them. Couple that with a new study revealing that men are judged for what they can do in the future, while women are judge for what they have already accomplished. Even when men and women are equally labeled as high potentials, the strategies that get men ahead don’t produce the same effect for women that employ the same tactics. What seems painfully obvious is that if we continue on the same path, why should we expect a different outcome? Well, we shouldn’t! If companies continue to do what they have always done, women will continue to lag behind in filling upper management and executive positions.
Lip Service to Change
Interestingly enough, in my conversations with organizations, most companies don’t have a problem acknowledging the discrepancies in their male/female executive ratio. How could they? The numbers speak for themselves. In addressing the gender discrepancy, they usually pull out some recent company materials espousing their commitment to diversity. Regrettably, saying you champion gender diversity is not the same as making a strategic commitment to closing the gender gap.
Women Leaders Help the Bottom Line
It’s the exceptional company that steps forward to develop and incorporate a strategy for including more women in their management and executive ranks. Why are these types of companies so rare? Part of the answer lies in the fact that many companies still see gender diversity as more of a PR issue than a strategic or financial issue. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a pathway for qualified women to enter into a company’s top ranks is a financial issue! In fact companies that have women in their executive committees do better financially. Why? Well to me its common sense. When women make upward of 60% percent of all purchasing decisions, why wouldn’t you want a woman’s input into product development, marketing, sales, etc.? My guess is that as women continue to outpace men in education the percentage of purchasing decisions made by women is going to go through the roof. Leading to even more reasons why organizations that don’t take the professional development of women seriously are going to suffer in lower sales and profits.
Much of my day is spent talking with people inside organizations and educating them on why it’s important to a company’s bottom line to develop their whole workforce and not just half. It’s a slow process though. For companies to be successful in equally developing women leaders as well as they develop men leaders, there has to be an organizational commitment to doing things differently and change is never an easy thing.]]>