Sponsoring spirals of success

University leaders can create career opportunities for their immediate staff by actively sponsoring them. A guide the Universities Australia Executive Women group releases this morning sets out how.

It does not seem hard, once consciously on leaders’ agendas; “opportunities at all career stages can create a positive spiral of success,” but the reason to sponsor people goes way beyond individuals. “Cumulative career advantage and disadvantage impacts not just on individuals but more broadly on the success of the research group, centre or department, and ultimately the institution.”

That’s the good news, what can happen to staff without a sponsor is the bad. UAEW suggests; “validation is not received, opportunity is hard to come by, confidence is undermined, networks and visibility are lacking, talent is not developed, and careers stagnate. An absence of sponsorship results in accumulating career disadvantage and can be career breaking.”

The case for UA getting involved is on the numbers. While a third of vice chancellors are women it is still a third, and although two-thirds of higher education professional staff are women just 44 per cent of HEW Ten and higher workers are female.


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