Formal education received at educational institutions cannot provide all necessary knowledge and skills for a person’s whole professional career and maintaining one’s professional position, especially in the higher-ranking professions of managers and professionals. Since education plays the key role in gaining such positions, it is vital to maintain state-of-the-art level of knowledge and skills in one’s field. Thus it is necessary to study the impact of self-improvement and its modes on professional career in the higher positions.
According to the expectation states theory gender has status value in a professional team. Thus men in higher positions who have a higher status than women are expected to contribute more and thus they are given more opportunities for proving themselves. Education and professional in-service training have a status-effect alongside knowledge of the field, derived from the opportunity to use signals (e.g., a diploma) to demonstrate having a competence and thus also a higher status.
Men in the higher professional positions in the labour market benefit the most from their higher gender-based status, which is compounded by the signals derived from formal self-improvement and the competences derived from such self-improvement. The status gives men an advantage in achieving higher management positions.
In order to gain higher positions in the labour market women have to engage in multi-faceted self-improvement, both formally and informally. The combination of competence and signals gives women the best opportunities to compete for leadership positions with men with any kind of in-service training. The signal given to the employer and colleagues about one’s competences is more important for women than for men and thus it is very important for women to participate in formal in-service training, which will provide a certificate and a mention in one’s CV, thus enabling one to transmit the signal.