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Job Report Shows Persistent Gender Leadership Gap, But Women Can Take Steps to Close That Gap

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 15, 2023

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Women hold just 32 percent of leadership positions worldwide and the share of women in leadership positions has increased by only 1 percentage point since 2016, LinkedIn’s latest State of the Job Market report showed.

Women are also underrepresented in leadership positions in industries in which there are large majorities of female representation. Women comprise two-thirds of entry-level health care workers and nearly three-quarters of education employees, even though fewer than half of women in those industries hold C-suite positions, according to MSNBC.

“This is due to a lot of factors,” LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher told MSNBC. “[One is that] women still take on a disproportionate level of caretaking responsibilities, and there are still lingering biases that continue to hold women back from reaching their full potential.”

Women can continue focusing on “skill-building, learning to showcase those skills and how they've demonstrated them, and to continue to invest in growing their networks” to help to close this gender leadership gap, she added.

Women also continue to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers, the study showed. In the one year between women graduating with a STEM degree and working in STEM, the research found, the gender gap widens by 10 percentage points. 

These and other findings “highlight the need to address the challenges and barriers that impede women’s advancement from the early stages of their career and to create a more inclusive and equitable environment that promotes diversity and gender equality in leadership positions,” the author of the study wrote.

“There are all sorts of barriers. Don’t focus on the negatives, push into the positives,” MSNBC news host Stephanie Ruhle said by way of providing her tips for women looking to rise in the leadership ranks. “Authenticity is key. It’s not sustainable to be anything but yourself. And it is a goal to be the best version of yourself. Be excellent at your job, and build your relationships.”

Women feel less confident than men in pushing for a promotion, new opportunity or a pay raise, the report found. “Keep track of your specific successes and impact within your organization so you can make a strong case for yourself when you do go in to ask [for a raise or promotion],” Fisher said.

Ruhle also said that women who take a career break for caregiving responsibilities—64 percent, a LinkedIn survey reported last year—can position that time as a positive, noting that “[l]eadership skills come in all different places. They come from motherhood, caring for an elder, managing a home, working in the nonprofit world, volunteering, “[Even if] you haven’t been part of the paid workforce for [many] years, you have been a manager and you have been a leader," she said.

She and Fisher also believe that women should support other women in the workplace.

“[A] win for other women in the workplace is a win for women across the board,” Fisher said. “Another’s success doesn’t mean your own success is dimmed, so celebrate wins at work as you’d celebrate your own accomplishments.”