Today, the majority of women are entering the workforce. So what advice can women follow to enhance their careers and help overcome barriers to success?
While today’s opportunities are unrivaled, professional women face challenges and inequities. For example, women are still paid less than men across professions; they are underrepresented in executive positions; and studies show that women must work harder for a pay raise or promotion.
“Women are aware that even when they have a seat at the table, they may not always be sitting level with their male counterparts,” said Constance St. Germain, Ed.D., J.D., executive dean, College of Humanities and Sciences, College of Social Sciences at University of Phoenix. “Women are too often overlooked for promotion as a result of conscious and unconscious gender myths, biases and societal stereotypes that are in the workplace even in 2016. Men and women are engaging more than ever to address this, but there is still work to be done.”
According to a new survey by Morning Consult and University of Phoenix, only 33 percent of women believe men and women working the same job make the same amount. The number of men who feel this way is higher but still only slightly over half (54 percent).
An underlying challenge for women can be navigating an environment that lacks support for their perspectives. The survey also found that one in three respondents agreed that there were too few positive female leaders at their company.
More than Hard Work and Talent
To continue rising in the workforce, it takes not just technical skill, but political savvy.
“No one can afford to be apolitical at work if he or she aspires to advance to the executive level,” St. Germain said. “While technical competence is important, in my experience, political savvy is a leadership skill that can be a key differentiator in an individual’s success.”
As a leader in higher education and organizational change, St. Germain believes political savviness is really about emotional intelligence. It is about understanding the importance of building collaborative interpersonal relationships, building trust, maintaining one’s composure and being able to put people at ease. This involves mastering soft skills like communication and teamwork, and carrying them through every aspect of the job.
“These skills are valuable for workers at any stage in their career. For those just starting in a new office, they can help negotiate a better salary, build rapport among colleagues and start off on the right foot,” she said. “For those reaching toward upper levels of management, these skills can help you build trust across the organization and make you more effective both as a leader and team member.”
As more women search for an education that is career relevant, giving them both hard and soft skills for success, many choose University of Phoenix. Two-thirds of University of Phoenix’s student body is female. The University is focused on providing not just an education but relevant skills that prepare students to take on challenges of the workforce. “Women in the workforce will continue to confront the broad array of challenges with collaborative and creative solutions.”
For more information about University of Phoenix, visit www.phoenix.edu.
For more information about University of Phoenix programs, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, please visit www.phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.