Tag Archives: Sheryl Sandberg

Harvard B-School Women “Lean Out” of the Workforce?

First HBS Women

First HBS Women

Women were first admitted to Harvard Business School in 1963, and 50 years later, women are not 50% of the students at HBS.
They trail at 42% for the currently-admitted class, up from the 40% at the time of this survey.

Robin Ely

Robin Ely

Robin Ely of Harvard conducted a survey of of 3,786 women and 2,655 men HBS graduates and found that more than 70% of alumnae are in the paid workforce, and 56% work full time.

Of the 10% of alumnae ages 31 to 47 who “lean out” to care for children full time, only 3% said they planned not to return to return.

HBS 50Ely argues that rather than leaning out, women are actually pushed out or pulled out of the workforce:

“…a whole set of experiences … look less like women opting out, and more like women being pushed out, by organizations that demand a 24/7 work schedule…Women are being pulled out by a culture that promulgates a compelling—some might say guilt-inducing—image of mothering that is hard to live up to while you are trying to hold a job.”

Among women working part-time, three-fourths are engaged in pro bono and volunteer efforts, suggesting that these women continue to have demanding schedules.
More than 63% of the women report regular or significant volunteer commitments, with 67% of those caring for children full-time reporting substantial volunteer activity.

HBS WomenYounger women with two or more children are less likely to be in the workforce than those with no children: 37% for parents vs 9% for the non-parents.

And among the younger cohort of Gen X’ers, 13% of women are working part-time, contrasted with 2% of Gen X men.

At the other end of the age-experience spectrum, another type of “age-approriate opting out” was reported by 43% of female graduates ages 48-66 no longer working full-time.
In contrast, only 28% of men in the same age range were not longer employed, reinforcing previous findings that men work both more hours per year and more years over their careers, leading to higher overall career earnings.

More than 84% of female respondents acknowledged “taking leaves or reducing work hours” hold back women from career advancement.

HBS RestroomThe second most-cited impediment to career advancement for women was “prioritizing family over work,” according to 82% of the female respondents.

Most alumnae reported organizational factors limit women’s advancement:

  • Lack of senior female role models
  • Inhospitable corporate cultures
  • Lack of supportive environments

Fewer than half of the women under the age of 67 report being satisfied with their professional accomplishments or opportunities for career growth.
In contrast, the majority of men agree that their work is meaningful and satisfying.

Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust

Harvard’s President Drew Gilpin Faust noted that, women are not equally represented in top leadership roles, echoing statistics showcased by HBS grad Sheryl Sandberg.
She share that women:

  • Comprise 4 percent of Fortune 500 Company CEOs
  • Lead fewer than 10 percent of America’s venture capital firms
  • Hold 26 percent of US full professorships
  • Serve in 20 percent of top US government jobs
Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Ely believes that organizations, women, and families will benefit from recruiting and hiring women who have opted out of full-time work but now want to resume their careers, because today’s graduates can expect to live nearly a century.

This change in hiring practices can increase use of top talent while reducing the substantial regret and dissatisfaction many HBS women experienced in their career trajectories.

As one highly-educated, highly-skilled women reflected on her sense of under-utilization and under-employment in a large global organization: “I don’t want to have to go home and vacuum to feel like I’ve accomplished something.”

Organizational policy can increase firms’ profitability, competitiveness, and innovation by deploying top talent across generations and genders, and this HBS study points to one source of potential talent.

-*What actions should individual women and organizations implement to increase the utilization of skilled women’s talents in the workplace?

Related Post

Women’s Post-Business School Work-Life Issues

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Gender Differences and Diversity in Corporate Interaction Styles, Financial Outcomes

Gender makes a difference in interaction styles on corporate boards, and the ratio of women to men on these boards is linked to corporate financial performance.

Interaction Styles

Gregory McQueen

Gregory McQueen

Chris Bart

Chris Bart

McMaster University’s Chris Bart and Gregory McQueen of Western University of Health Sciences surveyed 600 board directors (75% male) and found that men tended to base corporate decisions on tradition, rules, and regulations, whereas women tended to ask questions to develop more solution options, cooperate, and consider the interests of all stakeholders.

Nanette Fondas

Nanette Fondas

Nanette Fondas, then of Duke University, and Susan Sassalos, now of Edison International found that women on corporate boards influence other board members to act more “civilized” and “sensitive to other perspectives.”

Val Singh

Val Singh

In the same vein, Cranfield University’s Val Singh reported that women on corporate boards also reduce ‘game playing’ among board members.

Siri Terjesen

Siri Terjesen

With Siri Terjesen of Indiana University and Cranfield University’s Ruth Sealy, Singh evaluated existing research on corporate board gender diversity to develop a model of analysis by:Val Singh - Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards Model

  • Individual
  • Board
  • Firm
  • Industry and Environment

Financial Performance:

Nancy Carter

Nancy Carter

Catalyst’s Nancy Carter and Lois Joy with Harvey Wagner of University of North Carolina and Michigan State University’s Sriram Narayanan found that Fortune 500 boards with 3 or more women report:

Harvey Wagner

Harvey Wagner

compared to boards with more men.

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson and Ali Altanlar of Leeds University added another financial indicator affected by gender ratios on boards.

Ali Altanlar

Ali Altanlar

In their analysis of 17,000 UK companies that went insolvent in 2008, Wilson and Altanlar reported even one female board director reduces bankruptcy risk by 20%.

Pepperdine University’s Roy D. Adler studied 200 companies among the Fortune 500 to mine data from 1980 through 2001 and reported results consistent with the Catalyst investigation.

Roy Adler

Roy Adler

Adler and team identified the firms that had a record of promoting women to high levels and compared their profit performance to the median performance of Fortune 500 firms in the same industries.

The researchers separately compared profits as a percentage of sales, of revenues and of assets and found that for 2001, the 25 firms with the strongest record of promoting women to high organizational levels outperformed the industry medians with:

  • 34 percent higher revenue
  • 18 percent higher assets
  • 69 percent higher equity.

The 10 firms with the very best records of promoting women showed greater profits than competitors, and results were confirmed in subsequent studies in 2004 through 2008.
Adler and team noted that the odds of all 18 financial measures favoring women are 262,114 to 1, suggesting that these findings were not random errors.

Cristian Dezso

Cristian Dezso

Likewise, University of Maryland’s Cristian Dezső and David Ross of Columbia University found that companies with one or more women in top management  close to CXO level perform better than other companies, based on their assessment of the largest 1,500 public US companies from 1992 to 2006.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg isn’t the only one to ask “Why so few?” in corporate and government leadership roles, particularly when these results consistently point to the financial benefits of more women in top decision-making roles.

AAUW

AAUW

American Association of University Women asked the same question about women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics roles, and concluded that there remains a large gap in equal gender representation in leadership roles and in technical careers – and this discrepancy comes at the price of financial performance and organizational climate.

  • Where have you observed work group interaction differences depending on the ratio of women?
  • What financial impacts have you observed for organizations with women in top leadership roles?
    Level of Analysis Model

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What Do (Executive) Women (and Men) Want? Accenture Uncovers Priorities

Martha Bernays Freud-Sigmund Freud

Martha Bernays Freud-Sigmund Freud

Accenture’s online survey of 4,100 business executive women and men born between 1946 and 1994 from medium to large organizations across 33 countries sought to answer the updated version of Sigmund Freud’s question: “What do women want?”

Conducted in November 2012, the survey’s margin of error is +/-2 percent, with at least 100 respondents from each country, except Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden where the combined number totaled 200.

It provides some answers:  Women’s – and men’s top priorities in defining career success are:

  • Work-life balance
  • Money
  • Recognition
  • Autonomy
Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

This finding contradicts Frederick Herzberg’s theory that people are less motivated by “hygiene factors” like work-life balance and money than “motivation factors” like recognition and autonomy.

In contrast to Yahoo’s much-publicized ban on working remotely, 80 percent of male and female respondents reported that having flexibility in their work schedule is extremely or very important to work-life balance and more than three-quarters (78 percent) agree technology enables them to be more flexible with their schedules.

This is an important value statement in light of landmark findings that lack of flexibility and control in work environments has been associated with poorer health indicators and status than roles with greater flexibility

Hannah Kuper

Hannah Kuper

Hannah Kuper and Michael Marmot of University College London analyzed health outcomes of British civil service workers in the Whitehall I and II studies and found employees with least control over their work lives, typically associated with lower employment grade and lower social class, consistently had the poorest well-being and the highest mortality rates.

Michael Marmot

Michael Marmot

Marmot with other researchers who analyzed Whitehall study data, including Geoffrey Rose, surmise that not having discretion over how a task is accomplished, underutilizing skills, lack of clarity and predictability in job role can lead to job stress and physical indicators like abnormal heart rate and blood pressure, increased blood cortisol.

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly

Phyllis Moen

Phyllis Moen

More than half of all respondents said they declined a job due to concerns about its impact on work-life balance, also reported by Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen of University of Minnesota, suggesting that Yahoo’s policy could lead to significant attrition over time.

To realize monetary goals, the majority of respondents – 49 percent of women and 57 percent of men – had asked for or negotiated a pay raise, and four out of five respondents who negotiated a pay raise received one.

These rates represent a substantial increase over the year before in which 44 percent of women and 48 percent of men reported asking for a pay increase.
Notably, the percentage of men requesting more money increased considerably more than the percentage of women in that year period.

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

This result is more encouraging than Linda Babcock’s finding that women tend not to ask for raises, and tend not to receive them when they do ask.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Even Sheryl Sandberg wasn’t inclined to negotiate for her salary when offered the role as COO of Facebook until she forcefully urged by her husband and brother-in-law, she revealed on 60 Minutes while promoting Lean In.

The Accenture study may demonstrate a changing trend for the better:  Almost half of all respondents reported that they had asked for a promotion, suggesting greater willingness to advocate for themselves to achieve the second priority, monetary reward.

-*How well do Accenture’s findings reflect your career priorities?

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Lean In: Sheryl Sandberg launches Book, Foundation to Advance Women in Organizational Leadership

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg distilled her calls-to-action from her much-viewed TED talk and 2011 Commencement address at Barnard College in her forthcoming book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, scheduled for release 11 March 2013.

She reviews why women in the U.S. hold few of the top leadership roles in organizations and government, and offers greater detail on her much-discussed encouragement to:

  • Think Big
  • Sit at the table
  • Don’t leave before you leave
  • Lean in
  • Be bold, be unafraid
  • Choose the right partner
  • Seek challenges and take risks required to pursue ambitious goals.
Sheryl Sandberg at Barnard

Sheryl Sandberg at Barnard

Sandberg draws on current findings from Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research and other top research organizations to offer practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, building a satisfying career, setting boundaries, and replacing the goal of “having it all” with a more achievable target.

Sheryl Sandberg at Clayman Institute

Sheryl Sandberg at Clayman Institute

Sandberg is currently establishing The Lean In Foundation in collaboration with the Clayman Institute and corporate partners, to provide:

  • Online community to share insights and tools,
  • Online lectures by recognized thought leaders to enhance critical career skills,
  • Career discussion circles for women, men, and organizations, so they can deploy women’s talents to solve society’s most challenging issues.

-*How far can you “lean in” without losing your balance?

Related Posts:

  • Self-managed career discussion circles

“Greenlight Group”: No-cost, Self-managed Support to Achieve Professional, Personal Goals

  • “Think Big, Play Big” at Cisco’s 2013 Women in Technology Forum:

“Everything is Negotiable:” Prepare, Ask, Revise, Ask Again

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