Investigating career progression experiences of women into top management at a South African bank

Keywords: career progression, women, banking, South Africa, career advancement, top management, management, employment equity, gender representation, women representation


Despite South Africa’s progressive and comprehensive labour legislation that promotes gender equality in the workplace, this goal has not been fully achieved as yet. This is particularly evident when comparing managerial ranks, particularly in top management at South African banks. This phenomenon is still present today despite overwhelming evidence, supporting the benefits of a diverse management team. This study, therefore, explores the factors, influencing the underrepresentation of women in top management. Therefore, the main objective was to determine the challenges women face in progressing into top management at a South African bank. The study used a qualitative research approach in the form of a case study at one of the largest South African banks. The population for the study included women in top and senior management of the case study bank. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted. Data were analysed through Atlast T. I. Findings indicate that poor career progression prospects exist, mainly hampered by organisational structure, lack of sponsorship and a hostile working environment. The study adds to the existing body of knowledge by providing insights into barriers to women's progression in the financial services sector and providing practical implementation measures to promote career progression for women.


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Author Biographies

Judy Kobus-Olawale, University of Johannesburg

Department of Business Management

College of Business and Economics

Chris Schachtebeck, University of Johannesburg

Department of Business Management

College of Business and Economics

Nelesh Dhanpat, University of Johannesburg

Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management

College of Business and Economics


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How to Cite
Kobus-Olawale, J., Schachtebeck, C., & Dhanpat, N. (2021). Investigating career progression experiences of women into top management at a South African bank. EUREKA: Social and Humanities, (3), 28-40.
Business, Management and Accounting