Why Top Jobs Elude Women - Latest Australian Research

The Australian, Mar 18, 2008 - Jennifer Hewett

A new study looks at the gender imbalance so prevalent in Australian corporate life.

Why are there so few women at senior levels in Australian corporate life? How is it that women, who are at least as well educated as men these days, represent only 12 per cent of ASX 200 executive managers? Why have women been appointed as CEOs of just five ASX 200 companies since 2004?

There's no simple answer for this imbalance but a new study attempts to explore the reasons, including interviewing senior male and female managers in a range of companies.

The study, done with the co-operation of 13 large Australian companies among others, targets many of the issues that make rising to the top either less attractive or less possible for women.

The results won't make comfortable reading for many boards and challenge the concept of just what it means to be the right "cultural fit'' in organisations....

Leadership Challenge: Women in Management
- Study by Dr. Hannah Piterman

Women aspiring to management are struggling against a deeply embedded model of male leadership, a new report has found.

The report, the Leadership Challenge: Women in Management by researcher Hannah Piterman, found that women were struggling to gain recognition and reward and the organisational climate undermined their confidence and experience of working life.

She interviewed more than 200 managers and senior executives at big companies, including Commonwealth Bank, AMP and Coles.

Many women happily conceded that part of the problem was their own reluctance to play by the masculine-orientated rules and by the schedules of large organisations.

Piterman says companies need transparency in recruitment and promotion, flexibility measures and mentors for women, they need to link diversity to business outcomes and to set realistic targets for flexible work.