The glass ceiling             

Yesterday I came across an article in a Spanish newspaper about unconscious bias and how to become aware of it. Unconscious bias training has been around large multinational corporations for a few years now, so it´s good news that it is finally trickling down to local companies and the general public.

It is important for our employees and our leaders to be aware and try to compensate for their unconscious biases… we all have plenty and they become red lines in our lives, which probably would be richer if we were better at managing them.

But today I want to go a step further and highlight why it is good policy -the best- for a firm to be also aware of them and take corrective measures.

Let´s take women’s glass ceiling as an example. Despite everybody´s best efforts, female representation in corporate leadership is still pitifully small. Oftentimes figures get inflated by adding to the stats the percentage of women in middle management roles, where things look much better. But the fact is that in executive or leadership teams the percentage of women in most corporations barely reaches a quarter if not a fifth of the team size. As we can observe on the results of the latest study made by the Spanish Association WOMEN CEO.

Is this a loss for a corporation? Arguably not… “we always try to choose the best regardless of their gender”, but the fact is that when we analyze the proportion of women in the lower echelons, it is much higher.

Are women less intelligent? No, but they are less committed. Many women put their careers on the slow lane to take care of their children or their families, to manage the multiple demands of their lives, and take a slower pace during their most productive years. Hence, when choosing candidates for career development the pool is biased towards males.  Not only that: women who are selected are the ones who can devote the required extra time to work and their career. Are they the best and the brightest? Not necessarily, whilst amongst men this certainly would be the case because almost 100% are eligible.

A corporation’s most important assets are its people. They are the factor that makes the difference: a better strategy, outstanding customer service, a better ‘anything’ is directly related to the commitment and allegiance of its employees. I made today the case for women, but the same can be said for any minority.

That is why Pine Consulting & Investments’s suggestion of making sure that we have an efficient career development system and equality of opportunities is hence a must. It is also a matter of justice, but it sits at the core of corporate success.

Going beyond the law if necessary, to ensure work-life balance and guaranteeing that employees are happy, that they can be themselves in the workplace and no one with potential is left behind is the best investment a corporation can make.