Boyden Executive Search

Examining the obstacles faced by female executives, and how organizations can increase female leadership and reap the benefits.

Executive Summary 
The age of the female Sisyphus’


Organisational culture is still in the dark ages

Inhospitable work environments and difficult social mores outside work persist.
>> We look to business leaders to drive cultural change
>> The power to change lies inside each organisation and the commitment of its leaders

The top three obstacles to a leadership career are embedded in organisational DNA:

The social environment makes combining work and family difficult across Europe. Respondents reported the following as ‘career obstacles’:

The ability to pursue an executive role part-time is not seen as possible for many respondents:


A supportive boss and work environment are key success factors

The right boss is ‘make or break,’ but don’t make it personal, make it organisational:
>> Add equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to key performance indicators
>> Appoint an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion leader or embed EDI into a functional role

Female leaders who are succeeding point to a supportive boss and work environment:

A woman’s partner is also key to her success:


What benefits the individual, benefits the organisation

Access to top management roles needs to be widened:
>> Formal networks and mentoring programmes can deepen the talent pool
>> Make diversity an on-going conversation as part the organisation’s culture

Lack of access to top management roles is exacerbated by male-dominated corporate environments and therefore more difficult for women across Europe, reported by:

Consensus: networking and mentoring go further than the individual, to organisational success:

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