Thursday, July 5, 2007/
It would be a mistake to believe that only women are disadvantaged by the glass ceiling that keeps them below banking’s snow line.
It is a fact that the senior management of Australian banks is dominated by men, however much our corporate propagandists would have it otherwise. There is a glass ceiling, and it is strong and thick.
I was reminded of this reality as a rumour swept the floor about a female colleague’s apparent relationship with an older senior male colleague. This relationship, it was said, accounted for rapid promotion, as well as the recent plum overseas posting, which had attracted the gossips’ attention.
It will be immediately apparent that the absence of women in senior executive roles virtually eliminates sleeping with the boss as a viable means to advancement for males, like your correspondent, trapped in middle management. Equality of opportunity is, in this case, virtually non-existent.
(No doubt the charming editor and visionary publisher of this publication – who have both pierced the veil of secrecy surrounding your correspondent’s true identity – will smile at this, as it is true that your correspondent is past the first bloom of youth.)
The point should therefore be made that the absence of opportunity imposed by the glass ceiling is for that reason doubly unfair, as it also robbed your correspondent of further motivation for greater effort towards maintaining his personal charms.
Of course, however unfair the position is, there’s no point bleating about it. Men in middle management are an unpopular cause, and the chances of the Equal Opportunity Commission doing anything soon are close to zero (read the annual report if you don’t believe me; see if you can find a single reference to the apparently invisible victims of this indirect discrimination).
No, until corporate Australia makes real progress in breaking the glass ceiling and we see some degree of equality in senior management roles, I will stick with my faithful “Bradbury/Schadenfreude” advancement model: do nothing, wait for others to make mistakes, and laugh when they do.
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