Advice for Aspiring Female Fortune 500 CEO’s

SUSIE GHARIB: Last night, our series “Women in Leadership” profiled DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman. Well, that got tonight’s commentator thinking about a small but growing group that includes Kullman, Fortune 500 female CEOs. Here’s Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and founding president at the Center for Work-Life Policy.

SYLVIA ANN HEWLETT, ECONOMIST & FOUNDING PRES., CENTER FOR WORK-LIFE POLICY: Why are there so few women at the top of organizations these days on Wall Street, Main Street, or anywhere else? In 2010, across the economy, only 7 percent of top earners were women. It’s no longer a question of qualifications, commitment, or track record.

There’s a ton of high-performing women in the pipeline these days, fully 30 percent of the marzipan layer, that rich layer just below the top, is female. Rather it’s a question of sponsorship or, more precisely, lack of sponsorship.

My new research shows that women are half as likely as men to have a powerful sponsor who will propel and protect them through the perilous straits of upper management. This is hugely problematic.

The data show that those with sponsors are much more likely to get pay increases and promotions than those without. Here’s the brutal truth. No matter how brilliant you are or how hard you work, you will not get that coveted senior position unless someone with power in the organization knows you, believes in you, and is prepared to put your name forward and argue compellingly on your behalf.

I’m Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

Similar Posts: