Climbing the career ladder like a lady

Men and women get to the top in different ways, according to Harvard Business Review. In an analysis of Fortune 500 CEOs, Harvard Business Review found commitment is the key to the C-suite. This is especially true for women, who spent a median of 23 years at one company before landing the job as CEO. It took women 50 percent longer than men to get to the top, who earned CEO titles in a median of 15 years.

The following other commonalities were found of women CEOs:

  • Of the 24 female Fortune 500 CEOs analyzed, 70 percent spent 10 years or more at their current company
  • 71 percent of the female CEOs were promoted from within, compared to 48 percent of males
  • 56 years old is the average age of the female CEOs
  • 20 percent are running companies where they got their first job out of school.
  • Three of them got their start in "competitive business" jobs at consulting firms or banks
  • Two female Fortune 500 CEOs have Ivy League undergrad degrees, while just 4 percent of male Fortune 500 CEOs have an Ivy League education
  • 25 percent of the women graduated with an MBA from a top-10 program, compared to 16 percent of the men

The biggest disparity between men and women CEOs is the amount of time it takes women to get to the top. Both genders in entry-level jobs show matched ambition and confidence they'll climb, but women lose a significant amount of confidence and ambition mid-career when men do not, according to Bain data in the report. Until workplaces change, women set on the C-suite must strive to stay motivated.

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