How Conquering the first “Promotion Gap” Will Change Your Career Forever


How Conquering the first “Promotion Gap” Will Change Your Career Forever

How Conquering the first “Promotion Gap” Will Change Your Career Forever

For those of you who know me, you know my tremendous passion for coaching and mentoring and my overwhelming desire to help women succeed.  The 2019 McKinsey report is out, and one of the findings outlined in the report is profound.  I want to share it with all of you.

Forbes summed it up beautifully in an article by contributor Alana Lyn Gross.  “Although 44.7% of all S&P 500 employees are women, the numbers show that men are increasingly overrepresented in all levels of leadership.  In fact, the fifth annual “Women in the Workplace” – McKinsey and’s most recent report, found that the largest obstacle women face advancing to leadership positions is making it to the first promotion to manager.  The researchers call this “first promotion gap” the “broken rung” and said that if women are promoted and hired to first level management positions at the same rate as their male counterparts, there will be one million more women in management positions in corporate America in the next five years.”

McKinsey goes on to share “but a broken rung prevents women from reaching the top.”  Progress at the top is constrained by this “broken rung”.  The biggestobstacle women face on the path to senior leadership is at the first step up to manager.


For every 100 men promoted and hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired.  This broken rung results in more women getting stuck at the entry-level, and fewer women becoming managers.  Not surprisingly, men end up holding 62 percent of manager-level positions while women hold just 38%.”


Also listed in the report are five steps companies can take to fix their broken rung—and ultimately their pipeline. They are:

  1. Set a goal to get more women into first-level management
  2. Require diverse slates for hiring and promotions
  3. Put evaluators through unconscious bias training
  4. Establish clear evaluation criteria
  5. Put more women in line for the step up to manager

We know that employees value fairness.  We know that employees who work for companies who build a trustworthy and fair culture for all produce higher employee satisfaction and retention and more revenue as a result.  Satisfied employees recommend their companies as great places to work.  How do your team members value opportunity and fairness?  It’s a great question to ask yourself as you contemplate the recent findings in the 2019 Women in the Workplace report.

What am I committed to do to help?  I know from first-hand experience, how to help you stand out in the workplace.  I know that 85% of your success on the job is not technical skills and knowledge, it’s how you look, speak and how you act.  You can take four real-time steps today that will contribute more than anything to your success and help you reach that promotion into management.  Anyone can achieve these four steps with awareness and focus.  Ladies, for any of you out there who need support, advice or simply want to share your story, call, email or text me right now.  I would love to hear from you.

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Mary Williams

Mary is a business etiquette and protocol expert for executives and rising stars who want to unleash their best self and achieve their goals. A veteran of the C-Suite, Mary is a passionate advocate for utilizing the best skills in business etiquette and protocol to ensure meaningful actions for success in business and life. After more than a dozen years in her role as chief of staff, Mary launched her own dream business, Mary Williams, Your First Impression Authority. As a graduate of The American School of Protocol and a certified Business Coach, in addition to working at the highest levels of national and international organizations, Mary understands both the demands and the complexities of maneuvering effectively through business and life.   She is a regular presenter at university business schools, nonprofit organizations, trade association conferences, as well as corporate events. Her mission is to share all she has learned along the way, and in doing so provide effective business coaching to ultimately help people reach their true potential, utilizing distinct techniques and simple steps that guarantee success.

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