The Book

Where Have All the Senior Women Gone? 9 Critical Job Assignments for Women Leaders

The journey to the top is difficult for anyone, men and women alike. It requires determination, long hours and the right CV. Arguably though, women need more support along this route as they face additional hurdles and lack vital role models. This important new book asks ‘Where Have All the Senior Women Gone?’, and sets out the nine job assignments that are a ‘must-have’ in building a credible and strong CV for top positions. Women’s career histories are often too narrow or too focused on staff roles. A lack of the right job assignments, such as profit and loss responsibility, an international posting or operational experience can be one of the barriers for women to be appointed to the top jobs.

In this new book, Ines Wichert describes the challenges and lessons learned of successful female business leaders as they experienced the nine job assignments.Drawing on interview data and original research from both male and female senior executives and CEOs, Wichert provides a broad and balanced insight into both the developmental and the CV-building aspects of each of the nine job assignments under discussion. This book is not only intended for women who want to move all the way to the top. It will help any career-minded woman to re-evaluate her current career trajectory and provide fresh ideas for future career moves. It is also essential reading for all managers and directors who want to improve the development of their employees and who want access to the best candidates for senior executive roles.


The Motivation for Writing the Book

This book is inspired by many conversations Ines has had over the years with women at junior and middle management level who are lost as to what to do next. These women had often already developed great technical expertise and had moved on to their first or second management role but were unsure about their next role.  They often didn’t have good role models or powerful sponsors in their organizations. Some expressed concerns about imminent decisions over whether and when to start a family. Ines felt that what these women needed was a mentor, a person with a wealth of experience who could share what next job role may be useful for their career development. In Where Have All the Senior Women Gone? Ines sets out the nine different critical job assignments that successful senior women went through on their way to the top; they are the assignments that were both critical for their personal development and that also helped them to build a credible CV.


Key Conclusions, Key Learning

Ines’ book clearly sets out the 9 Critical Job Assignments that help women advance in their careers.

·         Early stretch assignments that show a woman and others around her what you can do.

·         Gritty and broad follow-on roles such as international assignments, operations roles, working in different

·         Roles to make a name and build a leadership brand - corporate intrapreneur,  change agent or a fire fighter

Ines’ work further emphasizes the need to be career intelligent and follow the 5Cs:

·         Being aware of critical job assignments that help a woman develop and build a powerful CV

·         Actively engaging in career planning

·         Showing courage to take on new and daunting roles

·         Demonstrating curiosity to try new roles, work environments and working styles, and

·         Understand the importance of connectedness through networking and sponsorship.


Who Should Read It?

This book is written for women who want help to progress to senior management roles. Even those who do not aspire to move all the way to the top will still find this book important reading in helping them to advance to more challenging assignments and to build a fulfilling career. Many of the critical job assignments explored in this book, the challenges faced, the lessons learned and the career benefits gained apply equally to men. However, this book explores all these aspects through the eyes of some of the most senior women in UK and international business, and the analysis provides a unique female angle on the topic of critical job assignments. The female voice provides inspiration for women but also vital learning and insights for male senior managers, human resource (HR) professionals and anyone else interested in the topic of women’s career progression. The insights shared by the interviewees hold valid lessons for a wide audience, irrespective of its gender or background.