Australian working women say male-dominated referral networks 'biggest barrier to their success'
Almost two-thirds of Australian working women said that they are not considered for executive roles because their male bosses only refer their mates.
A new survey from Executive Women Australia (EWA) found 60 percent of women think that male-dominated referral networks are one of the biggest barriers to their success.
EWA director Tara Cheesman said executive positions became vacant every three years on average, and bosses tended to look internally to fill roles, news.com.au reports.
"Usually because of the fact the other people in the [executive] roles are men, they are referring men," she said.
According to the report, Cheesman said men who had male friends working in the same field often structured their relationship around helping each other with their careers.
"When the boss comes and says 'Do you know somebody great for this job?' they think 'If I can do this job, he can do it. If I get along with this person, he will fit in at work too,'" she said.
And while men don't deliberately sideline women, Cheesman said it was an outcome of the perpetuating "boys' club".
"A lot of men don't see themselves as the person who's going to help their female friends in their career," she said.
The survey of 500 EWA members found women think the second and third biggest barriers to executive positions are that men are better self-promoters than women.
According to the report, the survey found that business women think the most effective way to increase the number of females executives in the workforce is to give more flexibility to executive managers.
Women also think more networking would help, with 50 percent saying managers should network with executive women so they are considered in the referral process, the report said.
According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, just 3.5 percent of ASX 200 companies have a female CEO, and only 12.3 percent of corporate board directors are women, it added.