Knowledge Center

Women and Men in U.S. Corporate Leadership: Same Workplace, Different Realities?

Rampant speculation exists as to why so few women make it to the top of corporate leadership. This study measures the attitudes and experiences of Fortune 1000 women and men executives directly below the CEO level. The resulting data allow Catalyst to assess the impact of gender on senior executives’ work lives and attitudes. We now know that women and men generally have the same goals—and use the same advancement strategies—but face very different barriers in their careers.

Data comes from surveys of 705 senior-level women and 243 senior-level men who share similar backgrounds and characteristics. Most respondents are within two reporting levels of the CEO. In addition, qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 women and 13 men, who are representative of the survey respondents.

The study reveals that:

  • Women and men have equal desires to have the CEO job.
  • Women and men also report similar levels of work satisfaction; reasons they would potentially leave their companies; and strategies for advancing.
  • While both groups have overcome barriers on the way to their current positions, women reported facing a host of stereotypes and environmental challenges that men did not.
  • Women have made more trade-offs and adopted more strategies to achieve balance than men have.

Sponsor: PricewaterhouseCoopers