Breaking the glass ceiling

There is a controversial debate going on for years now about the reasons why women do not reach Top Management positions in Spain in the same proportion to their representation in the labor market. 

After my research on university students (published earlier in this blog), I decided to do some further investigation through a survey on professionals working in the labor market. I wrote an article with Carmen García Ribas of the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, and Antonio Núñez Partido of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, that was published in the Revista de Trabajo y Seguridad Social del CEF, nº 313 - April, 2009 (sorry, no English version available yet).  La actitud de hombres y mujeres antes puestos de Alta Dirección.

The two main results of the analysis are:
  1. The questions or items related to "confidence and ambition" appear in the same statistical factor. Thus, there is a link between confidence to reach Top Management positions and the associated ambition developed.
  2. Although the results show women have less "confidence and ambition" than men to reach a Top Management role, the results demonstrate that both factors cannot be separated.
As a consequence, the article stresses a very reasonable argument: confidence in your possibilities to promote is crititcal to develop your motivation. The lack of expectations or confidence to reach these positions may be behind the perception of lack of ambition.

This research confirms that policies aimed at increasing confidence of women to reach high level positions, such as networking, mentoring and examples of successful female executives that have already broken the glass ceiling, are indeed useful.