While enlightened organizations offer support to their staff (both women and men) through coaching and mentoring systems, regular performance reviews, talent and succession management processes, it appears that there are still many places where organizational support is lacking.
No place for talent management
The major areas mentioned related to lack of or limited career opportunities within an organization, no coach or mentor and a lack of feedback.
Comments like ‘lack of future opportunities within current organisation’, ‘there was no talent management within the company’ and ‘longer established personnel in positions with no plans to move sideways or upwards’ all seem to indicate organizations with little realization of the importance of internal career development and promotion planning.
Dead men’s shoes
Many of our respondents felt let down by their company when they found that career paths were not obvious, were sometimes blocked and little encouragement and opportunity was given to women who wanted to grow and develop.
Some mentioned that plum jobs were given to men or ‘favorites’ rather than the best person for the job, others mentioned ‘dead men’s shoes’ and others simply talked about lack of awareness of job vacancies until too late.
Disadvantage for later
The lack of a coach or mentor was cited on many occasions and it seems that people who did not have such a relationship early on in their career found it to be a disadvantage later.
Having someone who can challenge, support and act as a sounding board was seen as vital for career progression and development. Formal coaching and mentoring systems seem to be more common today;
Lack of a coach or mentor – lack of guidance
however, many women mentioned ‘not having a coach or mentor early enough in my career and therefore didn’t have a career plan’’or’lack of guidance in the first 10 years of my career’ as serious career barriers.
This suggests that it can be of significant benefit for women themselves to identify a coach or mentor early in their professional lives. Perhaps the secret is not to leave it to the organization but to identify your own coach, mentor or role model.