Workplace study finds limited advancement potential for women

McKinsey & Co., in partnership with the nonprofit women’s group, released Tuesday its third annual “Women in the Workplace” report, highlighting a continued underrepresentation and lack of advancement of women in the U.S. workforce.

While the number of female entry-level workers increased 1 percentage point, to 48 percent, since 2015, the number of female managers (37 percent) and vice presidents (29 percent) has remained unchanged. Additionally, the number of female senior vice presidents decreased 3 percentage points, to 22 percent, even as the number of female C-suite executives increased 1 percentage point, to 21 percent.

The flat numbers occurred despite the fact that, according to the same study, women are asking for promotions and raises at the same rate as men. In fact, women at the senior level are asking more frequently. However, the report stated that women are 18 percent less likely to receive the advancement requested.

The disadvantages of each measure of the gender gap are even more pronounced for women of color, the study found, even though black, Latina and Asian women are between 10 and 20 percent more likely to pursue top executive positions than white women. According to the study, black women are the most likely demographic to report that they never have had senior-level contact, which is perhaps why they also are the most likely demographic to pursue entrepreneurship upon leaving their current job.

More than 90 percent of the companies surveyed said prioritizing gender diversity leads to better business results, but only 37 percent of employees surveyed agreed. Men are much more likely than women to believe that gender diversity has been achieved, with nearly 50 percent of men stating that women are well-represented in companies where only 1 in 10 senior leaders is a woman. Young women between the ages of 22 and 29 were found to be the most personally committed to achieving gender parity, while young men of the same age were the least.

At home, 54 percent of women are still doing all or most of the chores and child care, compared with 22 percent of men, with women who bring in more than 50 percent of their family income still being 3.5 times more likely to do so. Additionally, less than 2 percent of women surveyed planned to leave the workforce to focus on family.

McKinsey & Co. and completed the 2017 “Women in the Workforce” report by compiling pipeline data and human resource surveys submitted by 222 companies employing more than 12 million people, with more than 70,000 employees also completing more detailed surveys regarding their work and home lives.