Boston Consulting Group study finds companies are failing senior-level women

Twenty Ten Talent - Boston Consulting Group

What do you do when your alarm clock goes off and the last thing you want to face is another day at work? Everyone has a bad day, or a bad week, but if your feelings of apathy are becoming a consistent theme you may not be alone.

A study by Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm, has identified three-quarters of companies surveyed are failing their senior women. The report finds many companies across the globe are generating lower levels of employee engagement among senior women compared to their male counterparts.

Employee engagement is a critical indicator of a company’s success. Engaged employees feel a bond with their company, are proud to work there and take steps to improve the firm’s prospects. However, Boston Consulting Group’s research finds that some of the world’s biggest and best-known companies have lower engagement than they should among senior-level women.

The most significant engagement gaps are found in key areas such as mentorship, appreciation and cooperation with colleagues:

Junior women in all the companies surveyed report a positive experience with mentoring. However, when it comes to receiving help with their professional growth, women’s scores remain flat as they increase in seniority, even as men’s scores rise steadily.

Women cite appreciation for their work from their superiors as the top criterion they look for in a job – as do men. However, when companies don’t get engagement right, senior-level women feel the pain disproportionately.

Cooperation with colleagues
Women and men alike cite a strong relationship with colleagues as an important factor for positive engagement. Senior level women at lower-engagement companies are more skeptical about whether their managers behave honestly with them and feel less supported companied to senior men.

The report’s authors recommend companies should start by understanding the root causes of their engagement issues, in particular by listening carefully to senior women. However, the root cause of disengagement often varies. In some companies, there’s a vicious cycle where women’s skills and opinions are not used sufficiently, leading them to disengage. Other companies have found they are not active enough in promoting women on the basis of their potential. Instead, they wait for female employees to demonstrate strong performance in a given role, an approach that causes companies to miss out on their highest-potential leaders.

As Matt Krentz, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group puts it, “the engagement gap for senior women is important because research demonstrates that engagement ties to overall performance. Management teams that want to provide the best environment for their most senior women need to make it a priority and begin working to address the issue today.”

To download a copy of The Rewards of an Engaged Female Workforce report visit


Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema

Photography: #WOCinTech Chat


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