Study: 100 Years Until We Reach Gender Equality at Work

But women are less eager than men to take top jobs.

Yeko Photo Studio/Shutterstock

Yeko Photo Studio/Shutterstock

Despite great strides by women in the workplace, a new study offers some grim numbers about gender parity in the United States. It’ll take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior VP level and more than 100 years in the C-suite, according to Women in the Workplace 2015, a study by and McKinsey & Co. (That calculation is based on the change observed between 2012 and 2015. For the C-suite, there was just a 0.9 percent increase in female representation during that timeframe.)

“Many people assume this is because women are leaving companies at higher rates than men or due to difficulties balancing work and family,” the study says. “However, our analysis tells a more complex story: Women face greater barriers to advancement and a steeper path to senior leadership.”

The study finds that women are still underrepresented at every level in the corporate pipeline. Check out this table:

YearEntry Level ProfessionalManagerSenior Manager/ DirectorVPSVPC-Suite
2012 (Percentage of women)42%33%28%23%20%16%
2015 (Percentage of women)45%37%32%27%23%17%

Fewer women in the pipeline leads to fewer women on track to reach the C-suite.

“A majority of manager-level women hold line roles (positions with profit-and-loss responsibility and/or focused on core operations), but by the VP level more than half of women hold staff roles (positions in functions that support the organization like legal, human resources, and IT),” the study says. “In contrast, a majority of men hold line roles at every level. Since line roles are closer to the company’s core operations and provide critical preparation for top roles, this disparity can impede women’s path to senior leadership.”

But a key problem is the aspirations of women themselves. In fact, senior-level women are less interested in advancing than senior-level men, the study found.

“At every stage women are less eager than men to become a top executive, and this gap is widest among women and men in senior management.” When asked why they didn’t want a top job, 58 percent of women with children said they didn’t want the stress and 65 percent said they didn’t feel like they’d be able to balance work and family commitments.

The 2015 study examined 118 companies and gained responses from nearly 30,000 employees. Check out all the results here.