Working women often wonder what they can do to get further along in their careers, and in my experience are always eager to take more personal and professional development courses to give them that edge. I would be lying if, as an executive coach and trainer with PhD, I didn’t feel there was real value to additional training and qualifications, for both technical training and confidence and communication skills. However, I have sometimes wondered if some of the blame should be shared by systemic practises within organisations rather than just saying women don’t have the right qualifications or that they are only a degree away from genuine career success. I have long suspected that qualifications are just a red herring for women in the struggle for workplace equality – and a way for the blame to be laid at the feet of individual women rather than ask them to look at how well qualified their male peers actually are.
New research also backs up the idea that lack of career progression cannot be blamed on a lack of qualifications, as working women in London, are better trained than their male counterparts. According to the recent Women in London’s Economy report, "a higher proportion of females in London gain qualifications than males at ages 16, 19, and 23. By the time they enter the workforce, a larger proportion of women in London have higher level qualifications. Despite this, women are less likely than men to attain supervisory or managerial posts." And of those who do hold management responsibilities, the women are much more likely to have higher qualifications than their male colleagues. Does this sound familiar?