Previously published on Insights
BY: Rocío Bonet I Monika Hamori I Peter Cappelli
Through their research, Professors Rocio Bonet, Monika Hamori, and Peter Cappelli have found that major companies appear to be promoting women to top executive positions quickly to appease stakeholders, but are struggling to make full-scale organizational change. Here, the authors look at what companies can do to nurture and promote female talent rather than using symbolic quick fixes.
There is a general perception that women fare worse than men in various aspects of their careers and this is especially the case in their access to leadership and top executive roles. For example, women hold only six percent of the CEO positions in the Standard & Poor’s 500.
The differences in male and female career advancement are driven, in part, by the stereotypes held of women by those who make decisions about appointments to top executive positions. Managerial and executive roles tend to be perceived as masculine jobs for which women are considered less suitable. The differences are also driven by in-group biases: that the men making decisions on promotion or hiring into the executive ranks prefer candidates who are similar to them, that is, other men.
In our research, “Gender differences in speed of advancement: An empirical examination of top executives in the Fortune 100 firms,” we examined the differences between men and women’s route to the top echelons, specifically how long it took them to reach their top executive positions. In other words, we answer the question: Did female top executive incumbents reach the top faster or slower than their male counterparts?