The organization of the most successful Russian businesswomen
Since 2002
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About the study

Most of the leadership studies conducted so far in Russia include general  statistics such as proportions of men and women holding executive positions,  gender distribution in various professions etc. Using available quantitative  data one could make a detailed demographic portrait of an average executive  and identify typically “female” and “male” jobs; but situation analysis and  suggestions regarding what people who wish to make a career should actually  do, are traditionally lacking. The in-depth interviews and survey conducted  in the course of this study allowed us to take a broader look at career  development in today’s Russia, and suggest a number of things to keep in  mind when developing your career.


The non-profit organisation The Committee of 20 proposed to conduct a  study in Russia to identify the factors affecting management and executive  careers and the problems men and women have to deal with in order to climb  up the career ladder. Also, the study sought to find out exactly what hinders  women and men from getting into positions where they could actually  participate in managing their companies.

The study had the following objectives:

  • determine the factors affecting men’s and women’s careers in Russia;
  • understand incentives prompting men and women to reach top executive  positions;
  • identify internal and external barriers hindering career development  of both genders;
  • identify typically “female” career development barriers;
  • determine main gender-related social stereotypes affecting career development.

Methodology and sample

During the qualitative stage of the study seven in-depth interviews were  conducted. The respondents included recognised Russian business leaders  (three men and four women), heads of major companies with huge  experience, models of bright and successful careers. The level of their current  positions was at least deputy general director, with hundreds and thousands  of staff under their supervision. The in-depth interviews were conducted  between 15 May and 9 July, 2010.

At the second, quantitative stage of the study the objective was to verify the  data obtained during the qualitative stage by comparing it with general  trends. This stage included the following objectives:

  • identify the difference between Russian and foreign companies’ approaches;
  • estimate how wide-spread the stereotypes were;
  • determine major incentives and barriers to career development;
  • rate the factors affecting career development;
  • identify gender-related differences.

141 respondents from 11 Russian regions took part in the survey. They included top company managers (general directors, board of directors members, deputy general directors, commercial directors); second-tier managers (heads of financial departments, HR departments, marketing directors, other major departments and divisions heads). The ratio of men and women in the sample was 40/60. The survey was conducted using various data collection techniques (personal and telephone interviews, questionnaire) between 22 June and 13 July, 2010.