The concept of a glass ceiling in the working life of a woman is an 'outdated model', according a survey undertaken by Ernst & Young.
Reported by hrmagazine.co.uk, the survey of 1,000 women between the ages of 18-60 claimed that instead of a single ceiling, there are a number of other barriers that can hinder both males and females.
These barriers - age, lack of role models, motherhood and qualifications - aren't chronological and can be 'experienced at any time' according to the report. Furthermore, aside from the motherhood barrier, they aren't exclusive to women.
According to Liz Bingham, Ernst & Young's managing partner for people, role models in the workplace are proving to be a particularly tricky barrier. Three out of four of those questioned said they have few or no female role models within their organisations while 8 per cent believe that a lack of role models had had a detrimental impact on their career to date.
As a result, firms may want to consider offering employees a leadership coaching course in order to sculpt working women (and men) into a role model-like position.
She commented on the figures to ey.com: "I was really surprised and concerned by these findings. From my own experience I have seen how good role models can have a transformational impact on an individual or team.
"I think one of the big problems is the misconception that you have to be perfect in order to be a role model. Whereas in reality we all have skills, attributes or experiences that would be valuable to share with others."