Study: Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women (Harvard Business Review, September 2010, Ibarra, Carter, Silva)
Finding: Mentoring is helpful, but sponsorship cannot be overlooked.
Note about The Woman Effect Research Index: This study was performed by researchers not affiliated with InPower Women. Our Research Index includes all relevant research to the subject of women, business and power. We do not influence how the research was conducted or reported by the researchers. In our abstracts, we focus on pulling out the most actionable advice for individual women. To suggest additional research we should index, or discuss our choice of abstract focus, please contact us
InPower Insight : Mentorship isn’t enough. Go for a sponsor. You’ll get ahead and so will they.
Research has shown again and again that mentoring is beneficial, maybe even necessary. Studies show that women are as likely to get mentored as their male counterparts, however, mentoring does not necessarily provide equitable career benefits for both sexes.
In an effort to retain female talent, companies are offering mentoring programs to women. In this study conducted by the Harvard Business Review researchers found that 59% offered “internally led mentoring and networking programs”. Twenty- eight percent have women- specific programs. While mentoring programs are available to both women and men, it seems the benefit outcomes are not the same for both genders. In a Catalyst Survey of 4,000 full time employed men and women over a six year period, women were paid $4, 600 less in their “first post- MBA jobs”. While women are mentored more, studies show that the type of mentors given to each sex vary. These researchers asked the question, “If the women are being mentored so thoroughly, why aren’t they moving into higher management positions?”
In the course of their research Ibarra, Carter and Silva interviewed 40 high-potential women and men of multi-national companies who had participated in high-level mentoring programs. They concluded that “All mentoring is not created equal.” The results of their reseearch suggests that women tend to be overmentored and undersponsored.
Surveys showed that mentoring can certainly go beyond providing feedback and become sponsorship. Sponsors go beyond simply helping the individual and use his or her powerful connections to “advocate for the mentee”. The study found that without sponsorship, women are less likely to gain executive positions and have more reservations about going for them.
Career Coaching Tip: If you’re over-mentored and under-sponsored, talk to your mentor about becoming a sponosor or helping you find someone who will! Make sure the mentors you’re spending time with are actively looking for ways to help you get ahead and find good assignments instead of just helping you be effective in meetings. The best sponsors believe in you and know that when they recommend you and you succeed, it makes them look good too, so they want to help you. Also, be careful to sponsor other women and men you believe in. Other research shows that those who help others make more money – probably because they’re seen as leaders on the lookout for new talent. Work it at both ends; you won’t be sorry you did.
Category: Career Advancement
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