Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Demographic and Family Related Barriers on Women Managers' Career Development

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Demographic and Family Related Barriers on Women Managers' Career Development

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of demographic variables and family related barriers on women managers' career development in government-linked companies in Malaysia. A theoretical framework was developed based on review of literature and two main hypotheses and five sub-hypotheses were proposed to be tested. A correlation study was used in this study based on quantitative research approach. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. A sample of 466 of women managers collected from Malaysian government-linked companies. The results showed that job level, age, marital status, highest education qualification and family related barriers have significant relationship with women managers' career development.

Keywords: women managers' career development, demographic variables, family related barriers, Malaysian GLCs

1. Introduction

The total number of women in administrative and managerial positions has increased over the years; however the proportion of women moving to top leadership positions still remains low. Research from Grant Thornton International Business Report (2012) revealed that only 21% of senior management roles are globally held by women which cover both listed and privately held business. Therefore, it is important to understand why women are underrepresented in top leadership positions in their companies. It is noted that the highest obstacles women in leadership positions face is gender stereotyping where the policy 'manager equals male' exists (Hoobler, Wayne & Lemmon, 2009). According to Lyness and Heilman, the contrast between both genders are extremely large where women are referred as generous and caring while men are believed to be strong in dealing with situations and capable in achieving their goals (Lyness & Heilman, 2009). Two potential barriers identified for women's lack of career development and academic achievements are family obligations and reproductive roles (Wolfinger, Mason & Goulden, 2008). According to Harvey (2007), the stimulation of women leadership roles and aspirations will be critical in their career development. In some research, women agree that taking time offto have children and child bearing responsibilities inhibit their career development (Shanon, 2007). Empirical research found that there is negative relationship between work-family conflict and career leadership development (Javeri & Dariapour, 2008). In other evidence, family support has direct relationship between both family-work and work-family enrichment (Baral & Bhargava, 2011), job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Marcinkus et al., 2007). A research study by Cross (2010) found that childbearing year is a significant barrier to the majority of women managers. In Ireland, women can have 42 weeks of maternity leave and however those who take up this benefit are less likely to be promoted. Therefore, the dilemma for most women in leadership position is whether to have children or they have to choose between career and family.

2. Review of Literature

2.1 Demographic Variables and Women Managers' Career Development

Wentling (2003) showed that development of women to top managerial positions depends on their education and the development opportunities. A study conducted by Metz (2005), it is found that when women increases their education, it might help them to breakdown the glass ceiling in the organization. Broadbridge (2007) studied about the contributors and obstacles toward executive career for both male and women employees. In this study women cited demographic characteristics as definite obstacles towards career development. In addition, they reported that family responsibilities in the form responsibility for their household and child care as further barriers towards their career progression. This occurred in spite of there not being important differences in men and women's educational achievements. Other reason cited by the women was that there was lack of facilities to help them to combine their home and work responsibilities. …

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