Life isn’t always better at the top of the career ladder, particularly for women, according to research from Middlesex University. Its study of 13,000 male and female UK employees, which was published in the Work, employment and society journal, found that, even in workplaces offering flexibility, generous pay and abundant progression opportunities, women were less happy with their role after being promoted to a management position.
Dr Daniela Lup, senior lecturer in quantitative sociology at the university, says the lack of satisfaction is linked to the stereotype that women are less able managers than men, which undermines women’s authority with their reports.
“Another factor with detrimental effects on women’s managerial experiences is their limited access to support from high-status contacts, in part because of women’s exclusion from ‘old boys clubs’,” Lup adds.
In light of the findings, Lup recommends that companies take care not to treat the experiences of male and female managers as one and the same, and respond to any issues that arise quickly.
“If the glass ceiling is to be shattered, organisations should not only focus on removing overt barriers that prevent women from advancing on the managerial ladder, but also pay close attention to the actual experiences that women have once they reach positions of authority,” she says. “To the extent that women managers have more difficult experiences than men, fewer are likely to seek further promotions.”