This bibliography is a quick reference of abstracts on ways to improve women’s career paths within organisations. We have referenced 117 items, organised them into seven topic areas, and provided a brief summary of each item. Articles covering more than one topic have been included in each relevant area.

Building on the research used on Realising the opportunity, we have included other papers which contained significant data or analysis. We have also added in reports which contain concrete proposals for action or recommendations, and information on New Zealand.

We hope Inspiring Action will make it easier for human resources practitioners and managers, Chief Executive Officers and leadership teams, to identify practical steps to take to improve women’s career pathways in organisations. To find articles, use the search function below or download the full report.

2013
Area of focus:
Flexible Working
This brief research report was issued by a non-profit organisation representing part-time and flexible workers within the United Kingdom. 1,000 part-time workers were interviewed on their attitudes and work histories to determine the career barriers they experience. A majority felt "trapped" in their current roles, given limited options for part-time work elsewhere, and most say their current role is a step down from, or on an equal level with their last role. Most had not been promoted since beginning part-time work, and most felt they would not be promoted until they took on more hours.The results indicate that the majority of workers are unsure at which point in the recruitment process they should ask about part-time or flexible arrangements, and virtually all respondents would like employers to be clear about whether roles can be performed flexibly when the vacancies are initially advertised. Data is also presented on men's and women's reasons for pursuing part-time work. A case study presents the work history of an employee of a financial services firm, returning to part-time work after a maternity break.
2013
Area of focus:
Flexible Working
This document summarises the results of an internal study of the aspirations, work styles and values of different generations of staff within PwC's offices, with an emphasis on determining the attitudes of the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1995).The study surveyed 44,000 PwC staff across 18 countries, with an additional round of interviews, focus groups, and online forums. PwC estimates that 80 percent of its workforce will be Millennials by 2016, and has found that this age group tends to leave the organisation after only a few years, rejecting the traditional career model of the professional services firm. Amongst their findings, PwC report that Millennials do not want to compromise their personal lives with high levels of work commitment, want access to flexible working arrangements, and want more (and more frequent) rewards and support from their organisation.Retention is seen in terms of building an emotional connection between staff and the firm with engaging work, a balanced workload, a sense of community within teams, and competitive pay and job opportunities. The conclusion presents recommendations of what other organisations can do to meet the demands of this generation.
2013
Area of focus:
Career Break, Flexible Working
This article describes initiatives undertaken by McKinsey & Co., a leading US consulting firm, to re-recruit female staff members who have left to have children. Similar initiatives used by other companies and consulting firms are also discussed, including flexible work schedules, options for part-time workers to gain partnership, and training and support for reintroduction to work.
2013
Area of focus:
Flexible Working
This fact sheet was prepared by a UK association for human resource professionals. It outlines the practice of flexible working, its benefits, and issues surrounding its implementation. It enumerates a wide variety of flexible work practices, and discusses the factors which contribute to recent increased interest in these options.Issues relating to homeworking and teleworking are discussed, as is the relevant UK legislation which allows certain employees the right to request flexible work, a right which is expected to be extended in 2014 to all employees with 26 weeks' continuous work experience. Hyperlinks connect the reader to additional resources on these topics, and a list of further reading is presented in the conclusion.
2005
Area of focus:
Career Break
This much-cited article from a business magazine reports on the findings of a survey of highly qualified women of two age groups, as contrasted with a male sample group. The study aims to identify the number of women dropping out of full-time work mid-career, their reasons for doing so, and their motives for and success with returning to work afterwards. It finds that 37 percent of women opt out at some point, for a variety of reasons classified as "push" or "pull" factors - child-raising, care of the elderly, lack of job satisfaction and rigid policies are cited as major reasons - whereas men are more likely to take career breaks to re-train or embark on new career paths. However 93 percent of these women opt to return to work afterwards.The article discusses why a majority of women choose not to return to their original employer after a career break, and provides action points for employers wishing to retain female staff. These include creating reduced-hour jobs, providing flexible work and flexible career options (and removing the stigma associated with these), and better relationship management. A case study of Ernst & Young's programmes and policies is also provided.
2014
Area of focus:
Flexible Working, Unconscious Bias
This white paper prepared by a business consultancy examines the unconscious biases held by business leaders towards employees who adopt flexible working arrangements. Flexible work is highly desired, and a driver of employees' selection of employers, but uptake of it is consistently low. Research results are presented which demonstrate managers' attitudes about full time and flexible-working staff as they relate to a range of leadership dimensions, revealing that in most cases full time workers are seen as more committed, ambitious and higher performing.The paper discusses and rejects a series of myths relating to flexible workers, with reference to empirical data from recent studies; discussions of the heuristics underlying such biases, and of recent legal decisions relating to discrimination against flexible workers are also provided. The authors argue that ostensible organisational support of flexible arrangements do not necessarily challenge underlying assumptions embedded within the corporate culture, as reinforced by leaders' mind-sets. In their conclusion, the authors call on leaders to identify and acknowledge their own biases, and those of others within their organisation, and to take systematic steps to counteract them
2014
Area of focus:
Business Case
The authors provide a business case for diversity in leadership by examining research on specific areas of governance practice. Inner diversity, in terms of viewpoint, talents, skills and ideas, is highlighted as being of key importance, and outer diversity (e.g. by gender) can function as an indicator of this. It finds that women on boards provide a symbolic benefit, sending a signal to stakeholders that diverse voices will be heard at the top.Female participation in governance is also shown to be associated with practical benefits such as higher assets, earnings, and number of employees, resulting from increased uptake of good governance practices such as accountability, monitoring of performance measures, creation of committees and assumption of responsibility.The report concludes with a self-assessment tool for organisations wishing to evaluate their readiness for women on boards, which also functions as a series of action points for implementation.
2014
Area of focus:
Business Case
This easy to read report, prepared by the Conference Board of Canada for Canadian government ministers, outlines the business case for women's inclusion in all levels of the workforce, and across all sectors. It highlights: an expected future skill shortage, and the positive impacts of gender diversity in terms of hiring and retaining talent; competitive advantage in the labour, financial investment and customer markets; improved decision-making; and higher return on investment in personnel.The report describes how workplace culture can exclude or include women, and provides several examples of "success stories" of women's inclusion, as well as tips and suggestions for actions. A 20-question self-assessment framework is included for evaluating a workplace's culture.
2004
Area of focus:
Business Case
This original research report produced by an independent, non-profit advisory organisation seeks to establish statistical support for the business case in terms of gender diversity in senior management.Catalyst examined the financial performance of 353 Fortune 500 companies between 1996 and 2000. Companies were grouped into quartiles by female representation in management, and the top quartile companies' performance compared against that of the bottom quartile companies, both by industry and overall. A strong relationship is found between higher gender diversity in management and better financial performance. Appendices include a detailed description of the methodology, the statistical procedures used, and comparisons of statistics by specific industry.
2010
Area of focus:
Business Case
This report from the UK's largest business advocacy agency to its member companies outlines the business case for diversity in terms of improved governance, attracting and retaining talent, innovation, reaching customers and improving reputation. Avoiding the imposition of regulation is an acknowledged priority for this agency.Infographics are provided summarising current female representation at the director and senior executive levels for FTSE100 companies, as well as statistics on the changing size and role composition of corporate boards in the UK. Low female representation in senior executive committees is seen as indicative of a failure of the career pipeline to bring women to board level. A higher level of diversity reporting is recommended, as well as increased leadership from the board chair on human resources policy, increased transparency in the appointment process, and developing and sustaining women through the pipeline through flexible work hours, managed career breaks, mentoring and building networks

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