McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2019 report identifies that the biggest obstacle women face on the path to senior leadership is at the first step up to manager. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 72 women are promoted. This broken rung at the first step up to manager is the biggest obstacle that women face on the path to leadership. It results in more women getting stuck at the entry level and fewer women becoming managers, so men end up holding 62% percent of manager-level positions.
This early inequality has a long-term impact on the talent pipeline. Since male managers significantly outnumber women, the number of women decreases at each subsequent level. So it’s impossible for women to climb fast enough to catch up. But fixing the broken rung could add one million more women to management in corporate America over the next 3 years.
Sheryl Sandberg, LeanIn.Org founder and COO, and Rachel Thomas, LeanIn.Org president, state that the broken rung is not attributable to women pausing careers to take care of children or to gender differences in ambition – it’s simply bias.