Is There a Glass Ceiling in Your Organisation?

If you feel you should be progressing but have hit a barrier, could your company have a problem with the 'glass ceiling'?

The metaphor of the glass ceiling dates back to the 1970s, when the feminist movement began to tackle workplace discrimination against women. It refers to the 'invisible barrier' some women and people from minority groups come up against when it comes to career progression, meaning they're intentionally or unintentionally barred from reaching the top tiers of the hierarchy.

While some people try to argue it no longer exists, it very clearly does. Women and those from the BAME communities are far less likely to be seen in the boardroom or represented at the higher levels of a company. Most of the faces at the top table are still male, white and middle aged. So does your organisation have an issue with the glass ceiling?

If you think you should be progressing in your career but aren't, it probably does. Constantly being passed over for promotion, not being offered training and career development opportunities or repeatedly having salary increases rejected could all be symptoms.

Sometimes you may get a general sense that the top tiers of the hierarchy have formed a little 'club' and it doesn't involve bringing in new members who don't fit with their collective mindset. Those from certain backgrounds can feel excluded, not just because their chances of success have been curtailed, but because they don't 'fit' with the workplace culture in general.

Smashing the glass ceiling is so hard because it's been reinforced by the fixed mindsets of those at the top. In order to achieve it, you'll either have to prove your case that there's underlying discrimination or look for another company that's more open-minded.


It's more likely to affect women and BAME communities
You may be passed over for promotion and salary increases
Senior company members form a 'club'
Smash through or find a more open-minded workplace