Difference Between Glass Ceiling and Concrete Ceiling

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Glass Ceiling and Concrete Ceiling

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The phrases "glass ceiling" and "concrete ceiling" allude to a company's workplace. Both are essentially the same. But there are certain differences between a glass ceiling and a concrete ceiling. A concrete ceiling is more denser that a glass ceiling and cannot be broken into pieces or shattered completely. It restricts person in the middle level. A barrier referred to as a "glass ceiling" or "concrete ceiling" inhibits qualified individuals, particularly women, from advancing up the corporate ladder. Concrete ceiling is more a solid  barrier than the glass ceiling whereas it is quite difficult to come out of those barriers present in the concrete ceiling. The expansion of qualified employees within a company stops. The concrete and glass ceilings both suggest that women and other underclass people have limited responsibilities in organizations.

Glass Ceiling vs Concrete Ceiling

The key distinction between the Glass Ceiling and the Concrete Ceiling is how much simpler it is to break through the limits of the Glass Ceiling than the Concrete Ceiling. Contrarily, Concrete Ceilings are more challenging to break through, get beyond, and escape than Glass Ceilings.

The phrase "glass ceiling" refers to a situation where qualified employees of a renowned organization have barriers to their promotion and growth as a result of sexism, racism, and other types of discrimination. A glass ceiling is more prone to damage than a concrete ceiling approach. The Glass Ceiling imposes limitations, but they can be circumvented with some work. A "concrete ceiling" is a situation in which limitations and limits prohibit highly talented people from developing and moving forward. There might be more obstacles and impediments to overcome while removing a concrete ceiling. A Concrete Ceiling is, therefore, as its name implies, more challenging to breach. The defenses of Concrete Ceilings are unbreakable.

Difference Between Glass Ceiling and Concrete Ceiling in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Glass Ceiling Concrete Ceiling
Definition a circumstance in which certain types of prejudice, such as sexism, limit the advancement of eligible individuals in a reputable organization. A type of situation in which barriers and constraints block the progress and advancement of highly skilled persons.
Breaking rules It is easily breakable and can be shattered. It is harder to crack.
Overcoming situation comparatively simpler It is tugher in comparison.
Density It has a fewer density It is very dense
Shattering It is easily shatterable. Concrete ceiling is difficult to break.

What is Glass Ceiling?

The phrase "glass ceiling" describes a situation in which qualified employees of a renowned organization have barriers to their promotion and growth as a result of sexism, racism, and other types of discrimination. A glass ceiling is easier to damage than a concrete ceiling since it cannot be removed.

It is far simpler to come out, go on, and overcome the limitations imposed by the Glass Ceiling than it is to do so with the Concrete Ceiling. because the barriers created by the Glass Ceiling are easily circumvented. Glass ceilings are more brittle because they are thinner than concrete ceilings. The glass ceiling does not impose limitations on individuals or those in the middle.

The metaphorical "glass ceiling" keeps women and people of color out of senior management roles in businesses. Although they may see the top management through the ceiling, the prevailing attitudes are nonetheless impediments to their advancement inside the company. For instance, the research found that the presence of "glass ceilings" can act as an imperceptible impediment to crucial lateral movement within a company. Glass ceilings frequently prevent women from gaining expertise in fields like supervisory line jobs, which prevents them from moving up the organizational ladder.

Why is there still a glass ceiling? The monoculture at the top of the organization is the reason why the glass ceiling continues to exist. Whether in the United States or the United Kingdom, the corporate culture at the top is typically dominated by white, heterosexual males. These individuals employ and promote people who look, act, and even think like them because they dislike change. White men are more likely than other races to move up the corporate ladder because they generally get along better with those in positions of power (for all the previously cited reasons).

The restriction of women and minorities to less visible positions and initiatives, which prevents their work from attracting the attention of high-level management or executives, is another factor contributing to the continuance of the glass ceiling. A woman's home life will interfere with her work, or they will be unqualified to handle critical duties and projects, according to stereotypes held by the organization's male middle managers.

It has been said that companies erect obstructions like concrete ceilings that prohibit or hinder a woman's advancement inside the company. They allegedly accomplish this by forbidding them from working exceptionally late hours, which has been proven to have no benefit for their promotions. Employers have noted that women are underrepresented in senior positions because they frequently take extended breaks from their careers to raise their families, while their male counterparts continue to gain experience in the corporate world. This renders women completely unfit for a senior positions.

What is Concrete Ceiling?

A "concrete ceiling" is a situation in which restrictions and boundaries prevent highly skilled individuals from growing and progressing. The process of getting past a concrete ceiling could come with more difficulties and hurdles. The Concrete Ceiling is more difficult to penetrate as a result, as its name implies. The obstacles that are brought about by the Concrete Ceiling are more challenging to go beyond than those that are brought about by the Glass Ceiling. Concrete ceilings create impenetrable barriers. Compared to the glass ceiling, the concrete ceiling is less dense. The concrete ceiling makes it more difficult to break through as well. There are limitations on who is permitted to break through concrete ceilings, including intermediate-level individuals.

The phrase "concrete ceiling" was coined because women from minority groups frequently experience racism and sexism, which impedes and worsens their efforts to progress within an organization and on the job market.

According to a survey, minority women see the concrete ceiling as a societal barrier that keeps them from achieving top positions in the business sector, particularly in America. There have been no benefits for minority female employees in an organization although all the organizations are diversifying. In a report from 1997, it was revealed that minority women make up about 10% of the 127 million workers in the corporate world, and they hold about 5% of the 7.5 million management positions. It was also revealed that 86% of female managers are white, while 7% are black Americans, 5% are Hispanic Americans, and 2.5% are Asian Americans.

For instance, fewer women are being appointed as MPs, police chiefs, and senior judges now than in the previous few years, and even less than in the previous year. Even though most employers still think that a woman's place is to stay at home and raise children, even though today's women are getting higher educations and are very particular about having careers in the corporate world, the number of women holding top-level jobs has decreased as a result of the Equality and Human Rights Commission list that was compiled, and the progress has slowed down considerably.

Both the terms "concrete ceiling" and "glass ceiling" describe the workplace culture present in an organization. The words "concrete ceiling" and "glass ceiling" have several distinctions, which are listed below.

Both words refer to the obstacles that highly competent individuals, particularly women, face that prevents them from progressing further in their fields of endeavor. The obstacles and challenges that highly competent women and other employees experience that prevent their careers from progressing and limit them to positions that must play a smaller part in the business are collectively referred to as the "concrete ceiling" and the "glass ceiling," respectively.

A glass ceiling is said to have existed in a person's life when that person is highly prepared for a much higher role but is unable to advance in their profession owing to discrimination based on race, caste, gender, or religion. The Glass ceiling includes discrimination based on age as well as any physical impairment, such as blindness or deafness. This kind of barrier essentially hinders women's job advancement inside a business. However, this barrier is a little bit simpler to overcome than the concrete ceiling, another type of obstacle in the way of qualified but disadvantaged employees of a firm.

Concrete ceilings offer a kind of major obstacle that people in the labor class commonly encounter. Reports of sexual harassment are more prevalent with concrete ceiling barriers, while it happens with both types of barriers. Concrete ceilings are very difficult to break down, and they frequently prevent bright people from moving forward at a position where they are neither too high nor too low.

These types of hurdles include being of a marginalized race or religion, receiving a lesser wage for women since it is assumed that they cannot perform certain activities, and deviating from the norm.

  1. Both words refer to the obstacles that are put in the way of highly qualified individuals' career paths.
  2. A glass ceiling is said to have existed in a person's life when that person is highly qualified for a much higher role, but because of prejudice based on their race, caste, religion, or gender, they are unable to advance in their profession.
  3. In comparison to glass ceiling barriers, concrete ceiling barriers are far more difficult to remove.

Main Differences Between Glass Ceiling and Concrete Ceiling in Points

  • The term "glass ceiling" describes a situation in which qualified employees of a reputable company find their ability to rise and develop constrained by many forms of discrimination, including sexism, racism, and other types of problems. On the other hand, the term "Concrete Ceiling" typically describes a type of circumstance in which limitations and impediments prevent the development and advancement of highly skilled people.
  • Comparatively speaking, a glass ceiling is easier to break than a concrete ceiling. On the other hand, overcoming Concrete Ceilings may present greater difficulties and impediments. Therefore, Concrete Ceiling is harder to shatter, as implied by its name.
  • Coming out, advancing, and getting over the obstacles posed by the Glass Ceiling is easier than those posed by the Concrete Ceiling. Glass Ceiling obstacles can be broken down with some work. Conversely, it is more difficult than breaking through a glass ceiling to get past a concrete ceiling and move on. Because the obstacles the Concrete Ceiling creates are strong.
  • Glass ceilings are more brittle and less solid than concrete ceilings. Conversely, the concrete ceiling has a higher density than the glass ceiling. The Concrete Ceiling is also more difficult to break through.
  • People on the middle level and individuals are not constrained by the glass ceiling. However, access for people and those in the middle level is limited in the case of a concrete ceiling.


An organization's working environment can be described as either having a concrete or glass ceiling. They are essentially the same. Concrete and glass ceilings, on the other hand, have certain differences. The "glass ceiling" and "concrete ceiling" are impediments that prevent qualified individuals, particularly women, from moving higher in society. A corporation has a barrier that prevents qualified employees from moving up. The idea that women and other members of the underprivileged class have fewer prospects in the workplace is implied by both the glass and concrete ceilings.

Compared to a glass ceiling, the concrete ceiling has a larger density. It is also more difficult to break the concrete ceiling. When there is a Concrete Ceiling, people and people in the middle level cannot enter. Glass is easily broken because it has a lower density than concrete. The Glass Ceiling does not apply to individuals or members of the middle class.


  • https://journals.co.za/doi/abs/10.10520/EJC146165
  • https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ870462


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"Difference Between Glass Ceiling and Concrete Ceiling." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-glass-ceiling-and-concrete-ceiling-1126>.

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