Thanks to the efforts of Sheryl Sandberg (to name but one), Patricia Arquette (to name another) and countless other powerful, capable females, the imbalanced ratio of men to women in positions of power is beginning, ever so slightly, to shift. More and more women are earning themselves job titles and salaries that they more than deserve and, bit by bit, the gender pay gap is beginning to close. On the surface, it seems like everything is going in the right direction. However, upon closer inspection, it seems that when women finally get that promotion to senior management, there’s a “negative spill-over” effect.
According to a new study, from Columbia Business School and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, once a woman lands one of the five highest-paying senior spots in a given firm, the chances then of another woman joining rank with the big leagues is 51% lower. Shocking, right?
Basically, the researchers theorise that when certain companies promote a woman into a senior role, they feel they’ve done their bit for gender equality, and that’s where their efforts stop. Despite the fact that a second woman may be an ideal fit on that team, they revert their tendencies towards the hiring of men. There is no evidence as of yet to explain why this statistic exists, but the study’s researchers suggest that said companies may well be operating with ‘implicit quotas’ in mind.
“They orient their efforts away from promoting women, perhaps to the point of resistance,” study co-author David Gaddis Ross told Business Insider.
If this is to be true then, are we to believe that the women who are being promoted are only landing the corner office because their companies feel pressured to move a woman into a position of power? Are they doing it to keep up appearances and to take the heat off? Or are they hiring the right person for the right job and this is just a coincidental, irrelevant side-effect?
We’re hoping the latter, of course, but it’s certainly something to think about.
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