You may have heard people talk about breaking the glass ceiling. This is a term they will often use in reference to their careers and what they’re trying to accomplish, but you may not be sure exactly what they mean.
The truth is that the glass ceiling is a metaphor, and it just refers to a certain point at which invisible barriers seem to arise. As some individuals attempt to climb the corporate ladder, or reach a higher position in that business structure or hierarchy for employees, they find that they are unable to do so.
At the same time, other employees are still able to work their way up through this hierarchy. The glass ceiling describes the multitude of factors that are stopping this individual from continuing their journey upward.
It often happens to women
This metaphor is often used in reference to women because female workers will often find that they stop getting promoted after a certain level. Someone may be promoted to manager or supervisor, for instance, but never have a chance to take an executive position. They move up along with their male counterparts at the beginning of their career, but then their movement stops, and they watch those other individuals continue on. Discrimination and stereotypes are likely the reason why.
It doesn’t always have to be gender based, however. Any time that it employee is facing some type of discrimination that holds back their career, it could be an example of this. Employees of a certain ethnic background, for instance, may find that their options to continue up the ladder are very limited, compared to their white coworkers.
If something like this has happened to you at work, then it’s incredibly important that you understand all of the legal options at your disposal.