At last count, for every 100 men promoted and hired to management level, only 72 women attain those roles. It’s almost as wide as the pay gap between men and women and results in a larger number of women getting stuck at entry-level or individual contributor positions rather than managers.
At this rate, it’s going to take years to fill the pipeline with female talent in leadership. But not if Addie Swartz has her way. The CEO of reacHIRE (which focuses on women returning to work after a career hiatus) is launching a new platform called Aurora. Aimed at helping women in the early stages of their careers, Aurora provides a peer-to-peer network for them within their organization.
They’re put on small “teams” led by a certified guide. Once there, they are able to get support to build leadership skills and stay accountable by posting goals and discussing them through virtual group meetings and one-on-one communication. There is also a micro-learning component that helps with leadership development through reading and group discussion. Currently, companies such as iRobot, Everbridge, and Vertex are using the platform to develop talent among their employees.
The key, Swartz told me, is that women at the lowest levels in large organizations are now going to get the ability to connect with peers and leaders they might not have the opportunity to meet otherwise. The interaction and accountability feel as familiar as a social media feed but offer a return on investment that doesn’t come from scrolling through Instagram. If it works, it could be a game-changer for the companies that use it and the workforce writ large. If the broken rung of the ladder gets fixed, closing the gap will mean that 1 million qualified women will be advancing to leadership roles in the next five years.