It’s still tough for women at the top: Men’s Networks Reign

MP900438566Around 2/3rds of professional women in Australia still believe they are limited in advancing into executive roles because of a ‘boys club’ mentality.

Executive Women Australia (EWA) just released their latest survey which shows women believe male-dominated referral networks are rife, and are significant barriers to continued success.

“Because of the fact the other people in the [executive] roles are men, they are usually referring men,” stated EWA director Tara Cheesman. Executive positions on average become vacant every three years , and leaders tend to look within or to their networks to fill roles.  Arguing the point, “When the boss comes and says ‘Do you know somebody great for this job?’ they think ‘If I can do this job, he can do it. If I get along with this person, he will fit in too’,” Cheesman said.

Cheesman doesn’t believe men are deliberately sidelining women. It’s more that men with male friends in the same field often help each other with their careers. “A lot of men don’t see themselves as the person who’s going to help their female friends in their career,” she said.

Based on the opinions of some 500 EWA members, women also believe men are better self-promoters than women. Many ASX 500 employers haven’t had female executives previously as demonstrated by the fact that of today’s  ASX 500 companies, only one third have a female executive at board level.