Glass Ceilings - The Status of Women as Officials and Managers in the Private Sector
New study conducted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
While the presence and status of women in the work force have increased dramatically since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are still concerns about the relative absence of women in higher management ranks, which some have described as the ’glass ceiling." In 1995, the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission(1) concluded that ’today's American labor force is gender and race segregated - white men fill most top management positions in corporations." The issue has taken on particular significance as women and minorities have increased their occupational status. The term ’glass ceiling" is generally used to refer to instances where women and minorities have progressed within a firm but, despite their ambitions and qualifications, find it difficult to make the movement into key higher-level management positions, or management positions at all. The social disadvantage of these glass ceilings is the inability of the most qualified employees to move into the most important positions due to irrelevant criteria such as race or gender. The selection of a less qualified employee negatively impacts both the employer and ultimately the economy as a whole. The successful elimination of glass ceilings requires not just an effective enforcement strategy but the involvement of employers, employees and others in identifying and reducing attitudinal and other forms of organizational barriers encountered by minorities and women in advancing to higher level management positions in different workplace settings.
An examination of EEO-1 data, primarily from the most recent 2002 reports, provides insights into the status of women as officials and managers in the private sector.
The percent of women officials and managers in the private sector has increased from just over 29 percent in 1990 to 36.4 percent in 2002.
Women represent 48 percent of all EEO-1 employment, but represent only 36.4 percent of officials and managers. Women make up 80.3 percent of office and clerical workers. Interestingly, women exceed their overall employment rates as professionals and sales workers and are quite close to their overall employment rate in technical jobs.
Industries from the health care sector of the economy are the most likely to employ women as officials and managers.
Manufacturing industries are least likely to employ women as officials and managers.
Comparisons between officials and managers and white-collar jobs (professionals, technicians and sales workers) indicate that women have the highest odds of being managers in the industries of Legal Services, Scheduled Air Transportation, Services to Building and Dwellings and Offices of Physicians.
Comparisons between officials and managers and white-collar jobs indicate that women have the lowest odds of being managers in Nursing Care Facilities, Full-Service Restaurants, Pulp, Paper and Paperboard Mills and Animal Slaughtering and Processing industries.
Comparisons between officials and managers at headquarters and officials and managers at field establishments indicate that women have the highest odds of being managers at headquarter facilities in Motor Vehicle Manufacturing, Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution, Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing, and General Freight Trucking industries.
Comparisons between officials and managers at headquarters and officials and managers at field establishments indicate that women have the lowest odds of being managers at headquarter facilities in industries from the health care sector of the economy.
Comparisons between officials and managers at headquarters and white-collar workers at headquarters indicate that women have the highest odds of being managers at headquarter facilities in Legal Services, Employment Services, Security Brokers, and Telecommunications industries.
Comparisons between officials and managers at headquarters and white collar workers at headquarter facilities indicate that women have the lowest odds of being managers at headquarter facilities in Investigation and Security Services, Full-Service Restaurants, Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing and Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing industries.
As a general rule, industries with a low proportion of women in headquarters management have a low proportion of women in their respective recruiting pools (field management and white collar jobs at headquarters). Conversely, industries with a high proportion of women in headquarters management have a high proportion of women in their respective recruiting pools (field management and white collar jobs at headquarters).
Industries with a high proportion of women in headquarters management are more likely to have disparities between the men and women in field management pools and less likely to have such disparities in white collar pools. Conversely, industries with a low proportion of women in headquarters management are less likely to have disparities in field management pools and more likely to have disparities from white-collar pools.
Employers may find it useful to explore their own employment practices in light of the findings of this report.
This self-evaluation could apply the statistical models and analytical techniques utilized in the report to their firm's actual promotion pools so that the entry of women and minorities into top management positions is assessed.
Employers can follow-up on such analyses with a review of their formal and informal personnel practices to identify those policies and procedures that foster the open and competitive selection of top management as well as those policies and procedures that restrict open competition.
The main purpose of this report has been to use data from the 2002 EEO-1 Survey of Firms in Private Industry to explore the status of women in management. The research attempted to develop some new ways of analyzing the EEO-1 data, especially by focusing on potential differences between management at headquarters and management in the field. While there are a number of specific findings, the primary contribution of these analyses of the EEO-1 survey is the ability to raise important problems and questions about gender-based discrimination given the wide variations in the types of firms and industries in the American economy.
Gender discrimination is likely to be manifested in different (and often very subtle) ways, depending on work force characteristics. For example, the American economy has many multinational corporations with large headquarters staff as well as extensive operations in the field. It also has a substantial number of firms with either small field operations or few employees located at the firm's headquarters. Likewise, the American economy has manufacturing establishments with a high percentage of blue-collar workers and service establishments with few, if any, blue-collar workers. While it is difficult to specify the precise causes, it seems evident that management recruitment patterns in blue-collar industries differ substantially from management recruitment patterns in service industries.
This report should provide a ’springboard" that will encourage readers to discuss, identify and reduce attitudinal and other forms of organizational barriers women and minorities encounter in advancing to management in different kinds of workplace settings.
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