It is a fact that women are largely missing from the top ranks in corporate America. Only 28 percent of senior managers are women, according to Women in the Workplace published last year by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org. The percentage drops even lower as you go higher up the ladder, with only 24 women CEOs in the Fortune 500. That’s a paltry 4.8 percent.
This tiny percentage of women at the top actually handicaps today’s organizations. The problems they face have become so complex that they desperately need a diverse range of skills and backgrounds to solve them. Regardless of experience or educational levels, women bring a different set of skills and way of doing business to the C-Suite. That means it makes good business sense to hire and promote more women.
The increasingly competitive job market makes it difficult for employers to attract and retain top female talent. A new study released by Fairygodboss.com shows the secret to making it all work. Women report higher job satisfaction at workplaces that are friendly toward women. Period.
The factors that seem to correlate most sharply with women’s sense of professional well-being can be loosely lumped into two areas: Women appreciate pro-family policies, and women want to see other women in leadership positions. It’s also important to note that women who believe their workplaces treat both genders equally are far more satisfied at work than women who report the opposite.
The point is do right by the women who work for you, treat them well, elevate them into leadership positions, and in turn, your organization becomes more attractive to prospective female employees. The two predominant factors from the report — female job satisfaction and percentage of women at the top — feed off each other. If women are happier at the company, they’re more likely to stick around. And keeping women around is crucial to moving them into leadership roles.
An open and flexible path to leadership with an environment that supports women provides a win-win situation. Parity matters, and benefits everyone. We must all work together and take active steps to create opportunity for both male and female leadership styles. This process creates leadership that represents the entire workforce. When the percentages of those at the top blend with all levels of employees, it eliminates an us-and-them relationship and creates a synergy that engages everyone working toward a common goal. It’s no secret at all that when we recognize and support the full potential of women, we’ve taken the first step toward equality and the positive outcomes that contribute to both personal and corporate success.