Women experience a gender tenure gap, lasting in CEO roles at publicly listed companies for shorter periods than men, according to new research.
It may support the idea that female leaders are subject to a “glass cliff” where they are set up to fail, media reports said.
Analysis of companies listed on 12 stock exchanges around the world, including the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, shows that since 2018 women have lasted an average of 5.2 years as chief executives compared to 8.1 years for men, The Guardian reported.
Laura Sanderson, the UK head of Russell Reynolds, the executive search firm which conducted the research, said the tenure gap was explained partly because some men had been chief executives for decades, including one who had been in post for 39 years.
“While the sample size is too small to be significant, we also need to consider whether the data may support the glass cliff theory,” she said.
The concept of glass cliff is that women are more likely to be appointed as leaders when an organisation is in a time of crisis, so that their position is seen as more precarious than male counterparts.
Researchers at the University of Exeter, Michelle Ryan and Alexander Haslam, found in 2005 that women were more likely to be appointed as board members after a company’s share price had performed badly, The Guardian reported.