Do women linger below the glass ceiling because of their own lack of ambition and self-promotion? That seems to be the feeling of many employment lawyers and consultants in Europe.
According to an article in Financial News, a growing number believe the lack of women in high places is less about discrimination and "more a question of a lack of ambition, unwillingness to ask for big pay rises and different motivation from their male counterparts."
"High-profile legal cases over alleged sex discrimination in the UK and multi-million dollar settlements of several class action suits over discrimination in the U.S. by banks such as Dresdner Kleinwort and Morgan Stanley, have contributed to a consensus view that discrimination against women - both explicit and implicit - is rife in the securities industry," writes the newspaper's Tara Loader Wilkinson. "However, many people working in employment law and diversity argue that the attitude of women working in the industry is a great factor."
Indeed, several sources told Financial News that women can be "self-limiting" in their approach to managing their careers, and should be pro-active in networking and finding a mentor who can help them see different points of view and approaches to common challenges.
Noted Jane Mann, who heads the employment law practice at Fox Williams in London: "At the top, human resources don't have overall control in the hiring process and senior bankers will promote colleagues they like and trust. Unless a woman is very political and can tap into these insular circles she stands less chance of getting a promotion."