Knowledge Center

Good Intentions, Imperfect Execution? Women Get Fewer of the “Hot Jobs” Needed to Advance

Catalyst's findings about project assignments are very important. They echo my conclusion years ago, in my book Men and Women of the Corporation, that women were given the more routinized jobs, not the ones with high risk/high rewards that bring power and promotions. So it was exciting to see Catalyst call attention to this with new data. I applaud Catalyst's great work.

—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, 
Harvard Business School Professor
and author of SuperCorp and Confidence

The sixth report in the series, Good Intentions, Imperfect Execution? Women Get Fewer of the “Hot Jobs” Needed to Advance, examines the impact of leadership development—both formal programs and on-the-job experiences—on high potentials’ career advancement. It specifically investigates whether women and men get equal access to the experiences critical for advancement. Our findings revealed that:

  • Large and visible projects, mission-critical roles, and international experiences are the crucial “hot jobs” that advance high potentials further and faster, but women get fewer of these critical experiences necessary to advance.

  • Formal leadership development programs can provide access to the “hot jobs” when managed strategically, but formal programs don’t always result in advancement, particularly for women.

The report includes a series of questions for the reader to reflect upon about why disparities in career advancement persist. The goal is to help identify opportunities for effecting change in your organization, as well as in your career.

Additional Information:

Research Partners: Bloomberg, BMO Financial Group, Chevron Corporation, Credit Suisse, Dell Inc., Deloitte LLP, Desjardins Group, Deutsche Bank AG, Ernst & Young, General Motors Company, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, KeyBank, McDonald’s Corporation, Sodexo, Inc., UPS