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Bentley on Bloomberg: Gender Equality in the Workplace—Is It Happening?

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Bentley on Bloomberg: Gender Equality in the Workplace—Is It Happening?

If almost half of all entry level professional roles are filled by women in the corporate sector, why does this number drop to only 37% of women when it comes to middle management positions and 17% for c-suite positions?

According to a new and comprehensive study from McKinsey and LeanIn.org, there is still much work to be done  when it comes to building gender diversity in the workplace.

Bentley University President Gloria Larson joined Bloomberg Radio’s Carol Massar and guest experts to discuss the strategies companies are using to make women’s leadership a priority, initiatives to increase female representation on boards, and how schools are preparing the next generation of female leaders during The Bloomberg Advantage program on Tuesday, November 17.

While the McKinsey study affirms that female employees continue to face challenges when it comes to workplace success, guests offered their perspectives on how workplaces can evolve and support more women.

1.Companies Need to Develop Women Early in Their Careers

Recent research from Bain & Company found that while women in the U.S. start business careers with more ambition for senior leadership than their male counterparts (43% v. 34%), after just two years, the number of women still striving for leadership drops to just 16%, while men’s resolve remains steady at 34%. Company leadership needs to pay as much attention to what happens to younger women in the company conference room, as has been paid to women in the boardroom.

-Gloria Larson, president, Bentley University (Listen to the full segment here)

2.Base Advancement on Productivity

More than ever, people believe it takes long hours to succeed. The definition of the ideal worker who is always available and who always makes work a priority prevails. We need to replace traditional ideas about what warrants advancement of employees—such as long hours, frequent relocation and unyielding adherence to policy for its own sake—with one major metric: productivity. In addition, senior management need to better understand and address that it isn’t just women who are struggling with these issues. While there are obvious differences between the genders, much of what disengages women from their work is having the same impact on the larger talent pool of men.

-Betsy Myers, founding director of Bentley’s Center for Women and Business (Listen to the full segment here)

3.Make Companies a Desirable Destination for Female Talent

Companies need to make hiring and advancing women a top priority and a part of their talent strategy. At Boston Private 47% of our leadership positions are held by women. This has made a huge difference and gives a voice to other women throughout the company. This is also equally important to our client strategy. Various research studies make clear that two-thirds of all discretionary high net worth client wealth will soon be in the hands of female decision-makers. It is important to us to be uniquely able to serve these clients.

- Clay Deutsch, CEO, Boston Private Financial Holdings (Listen to the full segment here)

4.Make Boards Diverse

Research proves that diverse boards make better decisions and companies with women on their boards are more profitable and more sustainable. We need get to a place where companies cannot imagine not having women on their boards because it would not make financial sense. Senior leadership must think outside the box and expand their network of successful women by using tools such as LinkedIn and other networking databases to recruit for their boards.

- Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder and chair, 2020 Women on Boards (Listen to the full segment here)

Learn more about Bentley's partnership with Bloomberg Radio.

Learn more about Bentley’s PreparedU Project, which examines challenges facing millennial workers, the companies that employ them and the colleges and universities that prepare them.

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