Gender Balance at the Top Requires Career Planning, Not Quota (2020)

Paul Vanderbroeck

Career planning for creating gender balance at the top


Sometimes tried and tested HR practices have their use. One of those is career planning, which has its particular value for creating gender balance at the top. Regretfully, organisations opt for easy unsophisticated practices like quota to fill their leadership ranks with enough women. The result is the glass wall, i.e. women being concentrated in staff jobs as opposed to operational roles with profit and loss responsibility. Recent research by the Wall Street Journal as well as McKinsey’s annual Women in the Workplace reports attests to this point.


Career planning on the other hand is a sophisticated practice of developing talented individuals at the top by means of carefully selected job placements. Such assignments provide challenge and learning opportunities and particularly ensure that the individuals have the experiences they need to lead a company: functional, P&L and cross-border. Career planning works when it is based on methodical, psychodynamic assessment to identify strengths and development needs. And when the assignments are accompanied by learning accelerators such as executive coaching.  Through career planning, organisations are able to prepare the right successors for the top, as well as leveraging the entire talent pool.


What is your experience of career planning to increase gender balance?

KDVI Writer's Colony, 2020

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