South Africa has produced a myriad of influential businesswomen with Maria Ramos, CEO of Absa, and Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, CEO of ArcelorMittal, both making the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women.
Nonetheless, the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012 shows that globally only 21% of women are in senior management positions. SA does better at 28%, but only 8% of local companies have a female CEO.
“Companies can embark on accelerated career programmes to assist women to make transitions into higher level positions. But it’s not solely up to the employer,” says Sandra Burmeister, CEO of the Landelahni Recruitment Group.
She believes that women themselves are frequently their own worst enemies. “Women can do a great deal to push back against outdated policies and practices and make the most of opportunities in the workplace,” she says.
Boost your career by making the most of the opportunities at your workplace:
1. Speak up
Be more open about making your career aspirations known. Put yourself forward, learn to negotiate for yourself and volunteer your opinions.
Get better at building relationships! Build networks at the office as well as in your personal life, but keep your work and private life separate. (Be care
3. Find a mentor
Find a sponsor several levels above you who can act as a mentor, introduce you to the leadership network and recommend you for projects or promotions you may not otherwise have access to.
4. Take a risk
Be confident in projecting your authority rather than wanting to be seen as ‘nice’. Be prepared to take reasonable risks and don’t miss opportunities through fear of making mistakes.
5. Keep your head up
Be resilient and tenacious. Setbacks are inevitable, but you’ve got to be steadfast in your quest if you want to reach the top.
Established in 1997, Landelahni was the country’s first black-owned and women-owned executive search company. Today, the Landelahni Recruitment Group consists of a number of companies offering recruitment, assessment and coaching services in both the public and private sectors.