Women, Men Both Have an Eye on Top Jobs

''While the glass ceiling is yet to be shattered, women and men share equal ambitions and similar strategies,'' reports a new study.

Senior-level woman executives aspire to the CEO chair just as much as men, a new study has found, and that’s equally true for women who have children and for those who do not.

The study was conducted by Catalyst, a consulting firm geared for women, and based on data from surveys completed by 705 senior-level women and 243 senior-level men. It also included an analysis of in-depth interviews conducted with 20 women and 13 men during the summer of 2003.

“Career women have been concerned about the recent attention given to a small group of women choosing to opt out of high-performing careers,” said Catalyst president Ilene Lang, in a statement. “Our latest research findings shed light on that debate, and show that, while the glass ceiling is yet to be shattered, women and men share equal ambitions and similar strategies.”

The survey found that for both groups, their efforts to advance include exceeding performance expectations, successfully managing others, seeking high-visibility assignments, and demonstrating expertise. Both groups also reported that they face many of the same barriers to advancement, such as displaying a behavioral style different from their organization’s norm, lack of significant general-management or line experience, and lack of awareness of organizational politics.

The women respondents, however, did report enduring cultural barriers to advancement not reported by the men, said Catalyst. These include gender-based stereotypes, exclusion from informal networks, lack of role models, and an inhospitable corporate culture.

According to Catalyst, 51 percent of women and 43 percent of men reported difficulty in achieving a balance between their work lives and their personal lives. Respondents of both genders were equally likely to desire a variety of flexible work arrangements.

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