This is a imagery, it could be used metaphorically or almost in a literal way:
The higher up we climb the management ladder, the fewer women we find there.
Quanto mais subimos os degraus da administração, menos mulheres vamos encontrando.
Here we clearly see the parallel (meaning the resemblance/comparation to...) with the real ladder.
Anyway, all translations lead to the imagery of hierarchy PLUS the moving up towards the top (or up, the higher you can). The idea of career development and/or promotion, etc.
So, you will see translations like these:
If they are to remain in work and climb the career ladder, employees need to renew their knowledge and skills regularly.
Se quiser permanecer no trabalho e progredir na carreira...
...responsibilities, also mean that women are less likely to climb the career ladder and make it into managerial positions, even though
Responsabilidades familiares, o que tem efeitos negativos na sua ascensão profissional e faz com que sejam poucas as que chegam a postos
Technical and soft skills, enabling everyone to climb the career ladder.
Habilidades técnicas e pessoais que permitem que todos desenvolvam sua carreira profissional
So, there are different ways to translate it, like "ascensão profissional/"subir" na hierarquia (no emprego)/progredir na carreira/ascender profissionalmente/"subir" no ranking profissional", etc.
All related with that basic idea.