Let’s Talk Numbers: Women’s Journey to Top Management in Israel
For the third consecutive year, Strauss Group and The Israel Women’s Network are launching the Catalyst Census Report, which examines women’s journey to top management and decision-making teams in companies traded on the TA 100 Index. This Census goes beyond just diagnosing the state of women in senior positions. Over the years, the Census which seemingly examines a limited-scale group of people has become a diagnostic tool for the overall status of women in the Israeli economy.
We maintain that a tangent line connects women in hard-labor, low-wage jobs in the Israeli economy and women in senior managerial positions.
This line indicates that women still struggle to assert their necessity and their right to form an equal share in the Israeli labor market. The mere examination of women’s journey to top management shows us how it is still difficult in Israel, in 2013, to combine social norms, personal ambitions, work or career among women.
Men and women make their way up to top management along different tracks. The promotion rate of men is faster and they arrange relatively-shorter periods of time between positions. Most of them also receive higher remuneration in the transition between jobs, which is based on assessment of potential rather than on performance, since they would be typically “dropped” to senior managerial positions.
Women, however, usually grow within organizations and therefore their promotion is slower, granted on proved performance, and doesn’t occur as much, since organizations don’t always recognize the intra-organizational leadership potential and prefer to bring external “stardust”.
This year we chose to develop the Census tool and added an independent exploratory study that examines how women move up to senior management. This study confirms our concern that women still experience an impossible catch, namely that the question of whether women are even fit for management is still open for many organizations, even if unconsciously.
Clearly, the secret to increasing the number of women in senior management is the mere wish of the women themselves, as often claimed. The secret lies in the organizational and cultural recognition that women have high managerial and business leadership capabilities, which require adjustments in the workplace and labor market according to their needs, along with the formulation of parenting and family-supporting models.
The major conclusion that results from the 2013 Catalyst Census is that without initiated and planned action, the numbers will not increase and we will not reach numerical and material equality.