Networking is crucial to improving female career progression, says report

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The progression of women through a company hierarchy could be made easier by networking
The progression of women through a company hierarchy could be made easier by networking

Women could progress further in their careers if they had a better understanding of how to use their social capital to reach the top, according to a report from the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The findings, presented at the BPS’ Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham, showed that women who held chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD) positions believe their ability to build, maintain and use social capital had helped them progress.

All of the participants said they believed women generally lacked the ability to build, maintain and use their social capital, which includes expanding your professional contacts and networking.

Report author, Natasha Abajian, a postgraduate student at City University London, said: “Access to social networks typically differs for men and for women. Usually women have less access to networks associated with career progression. These networks or ‘who you know and who knows you’ are responsible for a large percentage of career progression, so limited access could be a barrier to women’s opportunities.”

She added that the participants in the study had acted in a “non-stereotypical manner” and succeeded in being appointed MD/CEO.

“Women who want to progress to the highest levels need to be aware of the value of social capital and know how to use this to their advantage,” she said.

These findings come in the wake of the Davies review, which set a target for FTSE 100 firms to have 33 per cent female board members by 2020.

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