For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

I’m Werking On My…

I’m Werking On My…

Can our female friendships determine our future careers?
By Hannah Hodgetts
Image: Female friendships

A study found that women with strong female friendships are more likely to get higher positions and pay in the workplace

A study in the Harvard Business Review found that women with a strong female friendship group are more likely to advance to higher positions and pay in the workplace. 

The study found a “female-dominated inner circle of 1 to 3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination.” The research was conducted by Brian Uzzi, Yang Yang and Nitesh V. Chawla and found that female advice and support are beneficial to advancement in the workplace.

It was found that men benefit from a bigger network that is central to their career field and connect to ‘multiple hubs’. Although women benefit from a central work network, those in executive positions and higher pay also had a close circle of female friends.

There is adversity women face in the workplace such as cultural, misogynistic and political hurdles that men may not experience. Therefore a female friendship to lean on for support and advice is key in their career development and building confidence in the workplace. 

The female participants in the study were objected to barriers such as ‘stereotyping and discrimination, which result in lower pay, lesser advancement opportunities, and a higher rate of dropping out of the labor market altogether’, says Brian Uzzi.

The study found that men’s close inner circles were not career focused or overlapped with work. Men’s network did not affect their job placement as they did not rely on their connections for gender- related career information and advice, unlike women who are especially navigating male dominated fields. 

In addition, Brian Uzzi stated, “While women who had networks that most resembled those of successful men (i.e., centrality but no female inner circle) placed into leadership positions that were among the lowest in authority and pay.”

By having that system to lean on to discuss companies’ approach to female salaries and equal opportunities it can help women decide the right job for them.

As a young woman myself about to graduate from university, my female friendships are what have got me through hardships and my career fears. Whether it’s proof reading essays, helping write CVs, discussing potential career paths, help networking or hyping each other up for interviews, these friendships allow me to strive in my career.

As well, the study found that the most supportive friendships were those where the career paths did not overlap. Having that external support away from your job and something separate is beneficial as it is an outsider’s opinion on your career path.

Hannah with her friendship group

The key to supportive friendships is quality over quantity, building a support system of similar minded people whilst also branching out to people not in your inner circle of your career. As when your inner cycle is closely connected in the working world, this may not offer the external support you need and may lead to competition. 

The review highlights how it is not every woman for herself in the working world and reinforces that behind every successful woman is other women who have her back. 

With last year being deemed the ‘year of girlhood’, it is key that we have friends that support us socially, emotionally and professionally too.  With it now even being scientifically proven that our female friendships are key to career success and that empowerment is key to battling career doubts.


Your support system is a part of every aspect of your life🩷 Read more on how female friendships support your career progress in our bio✨#fyp #foryou #careers #womeninbusiness #girlhood #besties

♬ BIRDS OF A FEATHER – Billie Eilish

To read more on adversity in the workplace-