The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?
Title: The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?
In this report we address the question of whether the gender gap persists because women and men adopt different strategies to advance their careers. Is it the case that men are more proactive, articulating their aspirations and asking for more opportunities? Are men more likely to be an “ideal worker,” doing “all the right things” to get ahead?
The short answer is no. Among the high potentials we studied, more than half of both women and men had adopted the full range of advancement strategies attributed to an ideal worker. Furthermore, half of those exemplifying an ideal worker were also including in their repertories external scanning activities— seeking advancement opportunities whether in their current organization or elsewhere.
However, men benefitted more than women when they adopted the proactive strategies of the proverbial ideal worker. Even when women used the same career advancement strategies—doing all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—they advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.