-However, a Lack of Key Experiences Could be Keeping Them from the
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 2, 2014--
Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), a single source of leadership and talent
consulting services, is highlighting research that finds while women
rate higher in overall competencies for senior leadership positions,
they lack key career experiences that tend to give men an edge up on
promotions at the most senior levels of organizations.
The Korn Ferry research found that with the exception of confidence,
women generally score higher than men in all dimensions of leadership
style such as comfort with ambiguity and being socially attuned. They
also score higher in most of the skills and competencies deemed
necessary for senior leadership success, such as employee engagement,
customer satisfaction and building talent.
“What women are missing are the experiences that their male counterparts
seek out during mid-level and business unit level roles,” said J. Evelyn
Orr, senior director of the Korn Ferry Institute and editor of Korn
Ferry’s research on women in leadership. “Women need to seek out and say
‘yes’ to experiences that stretch their skills and organizations need to
provide women with opportunities to accept those challenges earlier in
These critical experiences include challenging/difficult situations,
business growth, financials, strategy, and high-risk, high-visibility
assignments such as helping turn around a low-performing unit. The study
shows women are either not being offered or are saying “no” to critical
opportunities more often— leaving them a full leadership level behind in
experiences when they are considered for senior positions.
As of June 2014, only 24 Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs and women
occupied just 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.
This isn’t just about helping women break the glass ceiling. Having a
critical mass of female leaders across the organization and at the top
is proven to have a direct correlation with better financial return.
McKinsey’s 2012 Women Matter study measured a 41 percent higher return
on equity and a 56 percent higher earnings before interest and taxes
margin for companies that have the largest share of women on their
"Decades of Korn Ferry research proves that effective leaders move
beyond technical skills to practicing well-developed relational/social
and influencing/political confidence and skills,” said Korn Ferry
Managing Principal Peggy Hazard. "In achieving these skills, women often
face obstacles, including different gender norms and 'unwritten rules'
around power, risk, critical experiences, teaming, networking, style of
presentation and communication. With the right development programs,
women can build confidence, identify unique barriers and learn how to
navigate obstacles to reach their goals.”
Hazard also highly recommends complementing development programs with
pairs coaching between women and their managers and/or other key
stakeholders. "There is exponential impact when there is a shared
responsibility. Skillfully guided dialogues build affinity and candor
about barriers and how to tackle them, transforming working
relationships. Not only does this have a far-reaching business benefit,
it effectively changes the culture by changing the mindset of leaders
and engaging all colleagues as allies.”
Additional Korn Ferry research points to the need to examine not only
the skills and competencies of individuals (what they do) but their
traits and drivers or motivations (who they are). The research shows
that when all aspects of individuals are examined, assessments are 96
percent more predictive of future success.
For a complete report on the research and a guide on how to address
motivators, experiences, and relationships for women in leadership,
download Korn Ferry’s Talent Management Best Practice Series: Women in
1Devillard, S., Graven, W., and Lawson, E., Women Matter:
Making the Breakthrough (New York: McKinsey and Company, 2012).
About the study
Researchers at the Korn Ferry Institute analyzed data of thousands of
leaders from across the globe, and measured outcomes in the areas of
competencies, motivators, leadership styles and experiences to find key
differences between men and women.
About Korn Ferry
At Korn Ferry, we design, build, attract and ignite talent. Since our
inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class
leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent
consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their
goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership
development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and
recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Visit www.kornferry.com
for more information on Korn Ferry, and www.kornferryinstitute.com
for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.
Source: Korn Ferry
Tracy Kurschner, 612.309.3957