Enablers and Barriers to Women’s Advancement in New Zealand Banks
22 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 24, 2009
Women’s lack of advancement to the most senior positions within New Zealand banks has been evident for a number of years. The reason for this lack of progression has not been specifically researched in New Zealand, although it has been investigated in other countries. Aspects such as aspiration, characteristics, culture, education and experience are cited as either barriers or enablers to advancement in many studies. This paper reports a study involving both male and female staff members at one of the major New Zealand banks, which considered demographic characteristics, education, experience, aspirations, and other enablers and barriers to advancement.
The study provides evidence of gender differences, with women in the New Zealand banking industry continuing to struggle to reach the highest management levels. The findings show that there is no evidence to suggest that women are more experienced or more qualified than their male counterparts at the same levels. Major barriers do include the informal networks that can be difficult to access when you are a female, particularly as it is in these informal gatherings that business is often discussed. Work-life balance and stereotyping are also constraints to women’s advancement. Interestingly, both men and women rate the same characteristics as important for successful managers, and both also rate them as predominately masculine characteristics.
Keywords: Women, banking, New Zealand
JEL Classification: J16, J24, J44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation