Fewer female lawyers aspire for leadership positions than male lawyers

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Fewer female lawyers harbour aspirations to be in leadership positions than male lawyers, a new study in the UK has found.

The “Salary and Benefits Benchmarker 2018” report from legal recruitment firm Douglas Scott found that around 70% of lawyers surveyed aspired to be a partner, a manager, or a business leader. However, while 79% of male lawyers had leadership ambitions, only 66% of female lawyers answered in the affirmative.

There were various reasons why both sexes chose not to seek the partnership route.

Among female lawyers, the leading reason is “no route or room for progression” (27%), followed by “work-life balance” (26%), and “stress” (16%). Other reasons identified by female lawyers were “’glass ceiling’ or unacknowledged barrier to advancement” (10%), “satisfied at current level” (7%), and “lack of flexible working opportunities” (4%). There were 3% of female lawyers that said they have “been there, done that.”

More male lawyers cited “no route or room for progression” (40%) as a barrier to pursuing leadership positions. This choice was followed by “work-life balance” (15%), “’glass ceiling’ or unacknowledged barrier to advancement” (14%), and “satisfied at current level” (8%). There were 7% who have “been there, done that,” while 5% of male lawyers cited “stress.”

There has been a continued rise, however, of lawyers thinking their leadership aspirations will be achieved with their current employer. Among all respondents, 35% said they see their ambition will be achieved with their current employer, up from 30% in 2017, around 27% in 2016, and around 22% in 2015.


Related stories:
Increase in female lawyers is not reaching senior levels
Renewed calls for gender equality amid uneven High Court representation

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