What are the factors that prevent a greater number of women from climbing the corporate ladder? There's been no shortage of discussion on this topic, yet in most respects women continue to face a glass ceiling, particularly in historically male-dominated professions such as finance and IT.
We're all familiar with the glass ceiling that women often hit as they climb the corporate ladder towards the executive suite. The air is quite rarefied at the top and the numbers of women that get to inhale it are few (according to the 2009 Catalyst Census, women held 13.5% of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies in 2009), but new research finds that men are also subject to this limitation, perhaps for similar reasons.
According to Andrew O'Connell, an editor with the Harvard Business Review Group, new research from a team led by Mark Frame of Middle Tennessee State University found that as people move up the corporate ladder they are increasingly surrounded by "people who put a lot of stock in assertiveness and independence...rather than on such things as caring about others' feelings." On his blog about sensitive men O'Connell says the findings support the notion that upward mobility in corporate America requires more "task-focused behaviors" and less demonstration of "communal" qualities.