Real transparency will break the glass ceiling

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Real transparency will break the glass ceilingOn 28 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Organisations have spent a lot of time in recent years addressing the issuesassociated with the glass ceiling. And just as organisations start to payserious attention to removing the remaining barriers preventing women frommoving to senior positions, a new phenomenon has been identified in the media.That is, a concern about job security for some women in senior managementpositions because the glass ceiling has been removed, only to be replaced by aglass cliff. The findings are from a recent study by Exeter University, which suggests thatfemale executives are more likely than their male counterparts to findthemselves in precarious jobs with a high risk of failure. The study arguedthat women who break through the glass ceiling into senior management oftenfind themselves on the edge of a glass cliff, with evidence appearing to showthat FTSE 100 companies that put a woman on their board experienced in therun-up to that appointment consistently worse share price performance thanthose companies that appointed only men. It can be argued that in times of low share prices, any new appointees facechallenging roles, and the risks they face are the same, regardless of gender.However, it is essential that any promotion is backed up with sufficientexperience, development and support so that newly appointed board members havein their armoury everything they need to succeed. The study challenges all leaders to consider their recruitment actions. WhatI take from the study is the need for all organisations to continue to workhard to create an environment that is predicated on meritocracy andtransparency. The challenge facing chief executives now is to support all senior staff sothat promotion opportunities are not considered to lead to a glass cliff, butare instead seen as what they should be – an excellent opportunity to developand to add value. An organisation should be looking to develop a culture wherethere is a “glass lift” with a transparent approach to developmentand opportunities at all levels of management. Development from junior management through to senior management must comewith stretching personal development objectives. If you reach the seniormanagement grade there is even more reason to pursue the development path, asstaying ahead of the game requires significant effort. If an organisation considers career development opportunities for all of its staff and identifies clear career paths at eachmanagement grade, then there should be clarity around the competencies andcapabilities that are valued at the top of the organisation regardless ofgender. It sounds like utopia. And it won’t happen overnight. But there is no reasonwhy, with effort and commitment, it cannot be delivered. By John Connolly, chief executive andsenior partner, Deloittelast_img read more