Why Women’s Confidence and Aspirations Erode

‘Anne’ is a recent college graduate who lands a competitive position with a well-known multinational company.
Brimming with confidence, she hopes to someday reach management’s top ranks. She does well in the first few
years of her career and hits many of the early milestones to a C-suite role. As she gains experience at her company,
however, doubts start to creep into her mind about whether she can handle the path ahead. Although her company’s
board has articulated a desire to see more women in top management, the requirements to make it there
seem daunting—and lonely.
Her direct supervisors have little advice for her, and there are few women in upper management to serve as examples.
Soon, ‘Anne’ begins to make other plans for her life—plans that no longer include the C-suite.

For the past five years, Bain & Company has studied how and why women’s career paths differ from men’s. One of the more telling findings from this 2014 US gender parity research is that a significant number of women follow Anne’s prototypical trajectory.
More than 1,000 men and women in the US at all career levels were surveyed and asked specifically about their interest in pursuing a top management position (board, CEO level, and one or two levels below CEO) in a large company.

Why Womens Confidence Erodes7

SOURCE: Brian and Company. Bain Report 2014



May 20, 2016

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