While more women are working their way into the C-suite, women’s career woes are far from solved in 2021—and most face roadblocks long before they near a corner office. After five years of research, McKinsey and LeanIn.org have found that most women are derailed in their first few years in the workforce: when their first promotion is delayed or never happens, it sets the course for their entire career trajectory. This “broken rung,” as McKinsey calls it, is the biggest factor for continued workplace inequality.
For women just beginning their careers, the lack of progress made toward equality is discouraging. But some companies are leading the charge to fix that “broken rung” and ensure women in their workplace are set up for career growth from the very beginning. For young women looking to start their careers with an employer that’s invested in their success, these companies are great to get familiar with.
Since its inception in the late 1800s, Abbott has always had women leaders—so it’s not surprising that the medical supply company is still a leading workplace for women today. Many of Abbott’s women senior and executive employees began their careers at the company and rose through the ranks, benefiting from the company’s structured year-long mentorship program and its commitment to supporting women, particularly mothers, in achieving maximum potential at work.
Aramark has made huge strides in recent years to be more inclusive and supportive of women. It was recently named a 2020 Winning “W” Company for having a corporate board made up of 30 percent women—five years ago, they were at 0 percent. Of the progress, Aramark’s CEO said “I am proud of the progress we have made so far, and remain committed to accelerating representation of and opportunities for women at all levels across our company.” Aramark also offers a business resource network for women employees.
Avanade is a global professional services company providing IT consulting and services. The leader in innovative digital and cloud services is dedicated to investing in the future of women in tech, even earning the title of 2020 Employer of the Year from the Women in IT Awards. One way they do so is through their STEM Scholarship for young women, which helps fund recipients’ education and offers internships, mentoring, and a strong support network!
Another 2019 Catalyst Award winner, Bank of America takes investing in women literally via its initiative by the same name. The company rebuilt its practices from the ground up, starting with mandatory diverse hiring guidelines to recruit a wider range of job candidates and continuing with regular conversations and employee surveys to make sure careers are on track. The results speak for themselves: from 2015 to 2018, women’s representation rose significantly in mid- and senior-level leadership positions.
Unsurprisingly, a woman-founded company whose mission states “We promote accountability, equality, and kindness in an effort to end misogyny and re-write archaic gender roles” takes women’s leadership and growth seriously. At Bumble, employees have sit downs to discuss their career trajectories every few months and are encouraged to work flexible schedules that meet their needs. This is especially important for working mothers, who can earn more and stay on their career tracks when given flexibility in the workplace. Other perks: regular training and development opportunities and a monthly wellness stipend so you stay your best self.
Carbon, a 3D printing technology company, is led by female-empowering CEO Ellen Kullman. Kullman, who was named to Comparably’s “Best CEOs for Women” list, joined Carbon at the end of 2019 and has already increased Carbon’s leadership team to 45% women, with a goal of increasing that to 50%. In a traditionally male-dominated field, Carbon is leading the way to increasing representation with many majority-female teams.
As a leading software company, Citrix is proud of their efforts towards empowering young women in tech. Most notably, Citrix has an extensive partnership with Girls Who Code. They are a founding member of the College Loop program, which supports female college students, and sponsor their Summer Immersion program for high school girls. Most recently, Citrix worked with Girls Who Code on a matching donation fundraising effort in support of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can meet tons of women leaders and read their stories on Cognizant’s website, but they all share one common theme: they’re received incredible support from their company. Through Women Empowered, Cognizant employees can attend networking events, dinners, forums, and even a book club, all specifically designed to bring women together and provide insight into the workplace. Cognizant has also pledged to close the gender gap and is aiming to employ 100,000 women by the end of 2020.
Few companies are tackling women’s career growth and workplace equality head on in the way that Deutsche Post DHL Group is. Winner of a 2019 Catalyst Award for their strides in the area, Deutsche’s Women in Management initiative identified four main barriers to women’s advancement and created concrete solutions to those obstacles. Now, data across all employees is closely monitored to ensure that employees are equally fostered and advancing regardless of race or gender. And it’s working: since 2011 when the program was founded, there has been a quantifiable increase in women in management positions.
Known as the leader in managing electronic agreements, DocuSign is also renowned for their commitment to empowering women in the workplace. DocuSign has three robust ERGs dedicated to their female employees, including DocuSign Women, the first Employee Resource Group established at the organization. The two other groups are Women In Product Development, which works to advance and advocate for women in technology, and Women In Solution Engineering, which creates a forum for women and allies in the Solution Engineering organization to excel at DocuSign. These efforts to support and empower women helped DocuSign land at #15 on Glassdoor’s 2021 Employees’ Choice Awards top U.S. large companies list.
Facebook has long been a leader in Silicon Valley, and it’s also become a place for women to network and launch their careers. The Powerful Women in Tech group, which was first launched in 2015, hosts regular events to bring together women from all over the world for panel discussions, film screenings, and candid conversations about being a woman working in the male-dominated tech industry. Facebook also has a resource group for women to gain additional professional development opportunities.
Women who work at Fidelity enjoy a comprehensive benefits package designed to create maximum work-life balance. The company offers 16-week maternity leave, on-site health centers, Relationship Managers that support work both in the office and with clients, and more. Compensation packages also offer financial incentives for employees to have happy clients, meaning good workers are rewarded accordingly for their success.
Think the hospitality industry might be right for you? Look no further than Hilton, which is consistently rated as a great place to work and takes diversity, inclusion, and growth seriously. On the global scale, Hilton created a massive Women@Hilton conference for team members from all over the world to network, take trainings, and get inspired, and the company’s ‘Hospitality for All’ plan ensures employee development and happiness. Hilton women also have resource groups and executive networking events, as well as career coaching and flexible work schedules at all levels to ensure everyone has a clear path forward no matter their circumstances.
Women who work at Honeywell have an incredible environment to tap into. From women-only networking events to a comprehensive Return to Work program designed to support women with longer maternity leaves and a seamless transition back into the workplace after having a child. Thanks to numerous women leaders driving Honeywell’s success, younger employees have role models within the company to connect to and model careers after.
There’s a reason HubSpot often pops up on great places to work lists: the software company takes employee development and growth—especially for women—seriously. The Women@HubSpot group runs regular programming to support professional development for women in tech, and employee benefits for family planning and paternal leave ensure that women do not have to choose between their career and motherhood. As proof of their commitment to working parents – which, in turn, creates a more equitable work environment – HubSpot recently landed as the No. 3 Best Place to Work for Parents.
Juniper Networks, a top provider of high-performance networking and cybersecurity solutions for enterprise and public sector organizations, is dedicated to enabling women to fill representation gaps in the workforce. One way they do this is through their WeTech Scholarship program. With this program, Juniper Networks awards four $10,000 scholarships to female students seeking degrees in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. Juniper Networks’ talent team also partners with Anita B.Org and Grace Hopper to ensure they are constantly engaging and building a more fully representative workforce. This dedication to the success of women at work is one of the reasons they were named one of the top companies leading the new era of responsible capitalism in the 2021 Just 100 list.
It’s easy to see why Kimberly-Clark was named one of the top companies for executive women in 2018 and 2019 by the National Association for Female Executives. The company has increased women in senior management by 66 percent in the past decade thanks to strong professional development opportunities, on-the-job leadership and management training, and flexible work schedules designed to meet the needs of women with various personal obligations.
While the construction industry hasn’t always been known to welcome women, the industry is shifting to prioritize gender equality, and global integrated property and infrastructure companies like Lendlease are leading the charge. Named as the “Top Construction Firm for Women” by Pioneering Women in Real Estate, Lendlease is committed to building a more equitable industry through formal initiatives and specialized programs, like their employee resource groups and their annual internal women’s leadership conference. To ensure the company continues to increase representation across the board, Lendlease tracks the percentage of women on their team, including in senior executive positions,
Lendlease also invests in women early on in their career through the Lendlease Cornerstone Program, a two-year initiative that provides opportunities for structured training, exposure to multiple projects, and involvement in cross-business networking and professional development groups. Read why three women chose to start their construction careers in Lendlease’s Cornerstone program here.
After doing a company-wide analysis in 2015 and realizing women were not represented in leadership positions at the same rate as men, execs at Lilly took immediate action. After intensive research, the healthcare company launched actionable steps to improve women’s trajectory: managers underwent inclusivity and bias trainings and concrete goals were set to increase the number of women in management positions. Now, Lilly has more women leaders than ever before.
A global leader in medical device solutions, Medtronic recently earned a Catalyst Award for accelerating and advocating the progress of women in the workplace. Over the last several years Medtronic has taken an active approach to closing the gender gap by increasing hiring, promotion, mentorship and support for female employees. In 2020 Medtronic achieved 99% gender pay equity globally. To build upon their progress of advancing opportunities for females within the company, Medtronic is working on evolving their development programs for additional career opportunities and learning styles.
Nestlé doesn’t just talk a game about supporting women and creating a diverse, equal workplace: they’re committed to it, and openly share their goals and progress online for everyone to see. The food giant achieved its 2018 goal of increasing women managers across the company, and is on track to complete its 2020 goal of improving the lives of women workers at its food sourcing locations. Nestlé is also rapidly working toward achieving equal pay for all employees.
Named the best place to work for women by Fairy Godboss, Pariveda strives to make an equitable workplace. In addition to pay transparency and a clear career growth ladder for all employees, Pariveda’s Esprit de Femme group is specifically for women to have a place to learn and grow with one another. Coupled with the employee mentorship program and regular trainings, women at Pariveda feel valued from day one.
In 2018, Pfizer was one of three companies awarded Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s (HBA) ACE award, which recognizes companies committed to ensuring that gender diversity and leadership opportunities for women are part of their organizational DNA. A review panel of healthcare industry leaders selected Pfizer for the ACE award because of the company’s outstanding portfolio of programs offered through their internal global women’s network, all of which serve to unlock the full potential of their female employees. These programs and initiatives include sponsorship and development programs, robust mentorship, and visible support from senior executives.
When it comes to fostering a positive environment for women, Prudential means business. The organization sponsored research on how women’s careers progress versus men, and the different obstacles they face while climbing the corporate ladder. The company used that research to inform strategies to become more inclusive, including joining the Ellevate Network to offer more networking and professional development opportunities to female employees.
SAS, a leading software analytics development company based in North Carolina, has prioritized programs focused on building a pipeline of successful women in tech. SAS participates in the Grace Hopper Celebration in order to engage, recruit, and celebrate women in technology. At the college level, SAS participates in Triangle Women in STEM, “a coalition of universities, organizations, nonprofits, associations and local government agencies that promote women in STEM in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.” They also partner with Capella University to offer the Capella Women in Analytics Scholarship. Internally, SAS built the Women in Analytics Network and the Women’s Initiative Network to support, advocate for, and develop women.
A company where almost exactly half of all managers are women is bound to have a few things figured out. Synchrony offers a 9-month development program for call center and administrative staff to learn valuable professional skills and get a leg up on future opportunities within the company. Employees also rave about their sponsors—like mentors, but more action-oriented—who help champion performance and are instrumental in career growth.
Unilever, a global consumer goods company with a mission to improve the lives of consumers and communities, puts as much focus on its employees as it does all of the company’s purpose-led products. In March 2020, a full year ahead of their goal, Unilever announced it had achieved gender balance across its management team globally. Not only is Unilever committed to closing the gender gap in the company as a whole (their management level employees are now 50% women and non-executive board members 45% women), but they categorically closed the gap in historically under-represented departments such as Supply Chain, Finance, Operations and Tech Engineering.
Visa was named a Best Employer for Women by Forbes magazine in 2018, and it’s not hard to see why. The credit card company is transparent about its efforts to create a workplace with equal opportunities and equal pay, and pushes barrier-breaking programs like its Return to Work initiative to encourage and support women re-entering the workforce after taking time off to have a family.
The data McKinsey and LeanIn have gathered is clear: “If women are promoted and hired to first-level manager at the same rates as men, we will add one million more women to management in corporate America over the next five years.” That will only happen by companies taking hiring practices—and the first few years on the job for employees—more seriously, and looking critically at data and biases to ensure that all genders and races are being offered equal opportunities to advance. The companies listed above are actively working toward those goals, making them a great place to establish your career.