Want to Close the Gender Gap? Start With Ratings of Potential

Anthony Haynes writes: Our blog has at various times focused on issues of diversity and inclusion in general and on women at work in particular. At a recent strategy meeting we decided to place greater emphasis on these topics in future blog posts. This post by the ever-excellent Kajsa Asplund, which we are pleased to reblog, is therefore timely. Kajsa reports a variety of research findings that reveal a gender bias in assessments of employees’ potential.

kajsaasplund.com

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I probably do not need to pepper you with the numbers: There is still a daunting gender imbalance in the upper echelons of organizations. Globally, only 24 percent of senior management positions are held by women, and 33 percent of companies still have no women in senior management (Catalyst, 2017). Aside from being a fairness problem, this is also a talent management problem: By not promoting the best women, organizations are systematically saying no to higher performance.

The gender gap is a multifaceted problem with several causes, but one culprit really hits at the heart of talent management: Ratings of future potential. Every organization that makes promotions needs to somehow determine who is most likely to be successful in a more senior role – and unfortunately, as I have stated previously on this blog, this seems to be where gender bias hits. The research evidence is amassing.

Roth…

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