WHERE HAVE ALL THE SENIOR WOMEN GONE?
9 Critical Job Assignments for Women Leaders
The journey to the top is difficult for both men and women alike. It requires determination, long hours and the right résumé. Arguably though, women need more support along this route as they face additional hurdles and lack vital role models. This important new book asks “where have all the senior women gone?” and presents the nine job assignments that are a “must-have” in building a credible and strong résumé for top positions. Women’s career histories are often too narrow or too focused on staff roles. The lack of right job assignments such as profit and loss responsibility, an international posting or operational experience can be some of the barriers women face in order to be appointed to the top jobs.
In this new book, Dr. Ines Wichert describes the challenges and lessons learned by successful female business leaders as they experienced the nine job assignments.
Drawing on interview data and original research from both male and female senior executives and CEOs, Dr. Wichert provides a broad and balanced insight into both the developmental and the résumé-building aspects of each of the nine job assignments under discussion. This book is not only intended for women who want to move all the way to the top—it will help any career-minded woman to re-evaluate her current career trajectory and provide fresh ideas for future career moves. It is also essential reading for all managers and directors who want to improve the development of their employees and who want access to the best candidates for senior executive roles.
About the Author
Ines Wichert is a chartered psychologist with a special interest in talent management and female leadership development. She has a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Cambridge and has been working as a management consultant advising global organizations on their talent issues for many years.
Dr. Wichert brings personal interest and passion to the area of female leadership progression. This book is inspired by the numerous conversations she has had over the years with women at the middle management level who were uncertain about their next career move. Brought up with the belief that she and her peers could “have it all,” both a career and a family, her realization of the increasing barriers to career progression for many of the women she has worked with has made her embark on a journey of discovery to find out what accelerates and slows down women’s progression in the world of business.
Since writing this book, Dr. Wichert has joined the Kenexa High Performance Institute as a senior psychologist where she continues her research on the advancement of women leaders worldwide.
About the Book
“Where Have All the Senior Women Gone? 9 Critical Job Assignments for Women Leaders”
This book is inspired by the many conversations Dr. Wichert has had over the years with women at junior and middle management levels who are lost as to what to do next. These women had often already developed great technical expertise and had moved on to their first or second management roles, but were unsure about their next role. They often didn’t have good role models or powerful sponsors in their organizations and some expressed concerns about imminent decisions over whether and when to start a family. Dr. Wichert felt that what these women needed was a mentor—a person with a wealth of experience who could share what next job role may be useful for their career development. In “Where Have All the Senior Women Gone?” Dr. Wichert sets out the nine different critical job assignments that successful senior women went through on their way to the top—assignments that were both critical for their personal development and that also helped them to build a credible résumé.
Key Conclusions, Key Learning
Dr. Wichert’s book clearly sets out the nine critical job assignments that help women advance in their careers:
- Early stretch assignments that show a woman and others around her what she can do
- Gritty and broad follow-on roles such as international assignments, operations roles and working in different environments
- Roles to make a name and build a leadership brand–corporate entrepreneur, change agent or a fire fighter
Dr. Wichert’s work further emphasizes the need to be career intelligent and follow the five Cs:
- Being aware of critical job assignments that help a woman develop and build a powerful résumé
- Actively engaging in career planning
- Showing courage to take on new and daunting roles
- Demonstrating curiosity to try new roles, work environments and working styles
- Understand the importance of connectedness through networking and sponsorship
Who Should Read It?
This book is written for women who want help to progress to senior management roles. Even those who do not aspire to move all the way to the top will still find this book important reading in helping them to advance to more challenging assignments and to build a fulfilling career. Many of the critical job assignments explored in this book, the challenges faced, the lessons learned and the career benefits gained apply equally to men. However, this book explores all these aspects through the eyes of some of the most senior women in UK and international business, and the analysis provides a unique female angle on the topic of critical job assignments. The female voice provides inspiration for women but also vital learning and insights for male senior managers, human resource (HR) professionals and anyone else interested in the topic of women’s career progression. The insights shared by the interviewees hold valid lessons for a wide audience, irrespective of gender or background.
Give us your feedback on “Where Have All the Senior Women Gone? 9 Critical Job Assignments for Women Leaders”
"An excellent and insightful book. Ines has provided a highly strategic and practical text full of invaluable career advice. A must read for those seeking to recruit and retain the largely under-utilized talents of 50 percent of the world's workforce. Mandatory for women who rightfully expect to have a fulfilling career and a family."
Claire Braund, Executive Director, Women on Boards, Australia
"Ines Wichert has written a very important book: Yes indeed, where are all the senior women? In facing up to the gritty realities for women competing in organizations and drawing on the experiences of senior female executives, she offers immensely practical, step-by-step advice on ways for women to rethink their careers and enhance progression. Men also need to understand how to encourage and promote female leaders. They also need to read this book."
Dr. George Olcott, Non-executive Director at Nippon Sheet Glass and NKSJ Holdings Inc. (Japan), and Professor at Tokyo University
"Dr Wichert has distilled the critical roles and experience required to get to the top echelons in business. The result is a clearly defined check list for women who want to hone their career plan and a must for businesses who are serious about enabling the ‘right’ career progression and development to get women to the top."
Charlotte Sweeney, Head of Diversity and Inclusion EMEA, Nomura International
"A useful and structured guide for women who want to get ahead in their careers-on their own terms-but within the current corporate structures. This book shows that if your ambitions are clear there are practical steps you can take to retain your ‘promotional material’ status within the company. The book has a number of tough messages for women to step up and ASK but above all shows by examples that having a career as a senior executive can be exciting, fun, stretching and rewarding and you should not give up too soon."
Elin Hurvenes, Founder and Chair, Professional Boards Forum, Norway
"This book fills a real gap and provides well supported advice to help women build their careers. Entrepreneurial activity, vital to any large organization, features rightly as one of the three leadership brands which women may adopt in their attempt to break through the glass ceiling."
Doug Richard, Founder, School for Startups and Dragons' Den entrepreneur
"In my role as the Co-Chair of the London European Professional Women's Network, I have often asked myself, 'where are all the senior women?’ This is a must read book for any professional woman who wants to 'control the controllable' and take charge of her career. By searching out these career critical assignments, Ines shows how talented women can gain the confidence they need early in their career, accelerate their career after having children and contribute authentically to their organizations as they crash through the glass ceiling."
Michelle Brailsford, Co-President, European Professional Women’s Network, London
"This book succeeds brilliantly for a number of reasons: It pitches at the mid-ground between simpler cliché-ridden self-help books and weighty academic tomes; and the senior managers Ines interviews are well-chosen to have a range of experiences that make their narratives invaluable sources of information for the reader. This book is strongly recommended for ambitious women setting out, or at the early stages of, a career in management. Their male counterparts will learn a lot from it too! Dr Wichert should be congratulated on a very important contribution to help women climb to the top of their profession, avoiding the buffers and sidings that have held back so many of their predecessors."
Dr Brendan Burchell, Director of Graduate Education, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge